News Next 2019: News consumption will extensively be on social media: Experts

The 8th edition of News Next Conference hosted by exchange4media in Noida witnessed a fascinating discussion on the changing landscape of news anchoring

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The recent wave of high-energy anchors across news channels has sparked conversations around the changing trend in anchoring. At the exchange4media News Next Conference 2019, a panel discussion around the topic ‘Is anchoring an art or a science or is it just energy’ took place. Leading names from the media industry were present at the panel including Sushant Sinha, Senior Anchor & Deputy Editor, India News; Priya Sahgal, Senior. Executive Editor, News X; Sakshi Joshi, Senior Anchor & Special Correspondent, News24, and Nishant Chaturvedi, Editor, Aajtak. The session was moderated by Ruhail Amin, Editorial Lead, exchange4media.

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Initiating the discussion with the theme of the panel, Sinha said, “Today’s anchoring is a mix of art, science, and energy. In broader terms, however, anchoring is connected with 3 C’s which are Content, Courage and Connect. Content is necessary to engage viewers and make them come back to you, while connect is important as the viewers are seeing the world through you.” Moving ahead, Sahgal added, “Today what we are seeing in anchoring is energy. I really prefer the age of the faceless anchor because we are not the news, we are only the medium. Secondly, the TV medium is present in the private space of a person. We are invading the most personal part of a person’s house. Therefore, it is important to maintain a connect which is warm, welcoming and not threatening.”

Commenting about how anchoring has become worrisome in the current age, Joshi said, “It is important to balance the act of anchoring rather than intruding the conversations. Our work is to talk about facts and the background and discuss our way through the disagreements that come along.”

Anchoring is a mix of art, science, and energy, opined Chaturvedi. He added, “Art in television is about being the voice of the people. Science is the formula of knowing what can sell and what can get you the TRP’s. Most of the people would appreciate the non-biased behavior and sense of news in the olden days of Doordarshan. But when it comes to energy then I am sure they would appreciate the energy which the anchors now have.” However, Joshi had a different view in this regard. She said, “We also need to tell the people today whether their voice is right or wrong rather than just being a voice of the people.”

Proceeding ahead, the panel discussed how the recent high-energy anchoring took center stage and how the shift in the way of anchoring came in. Sahgal added, “The fact is that the high-energy, verbal jousting is what sells and gets the desired TRP’s for channels. However, people now want to bring conversations back to the news.”

Talking about whether people would watch the news if it was more subtle and less performance, Chaturvedi added, “The newsroom is full of adrenaline and if it is not, it must have it. News can definitely be subtle but it must have passion. While passion is important, it must not have theatrics.”

As the discussion concluded on the future of news anchoring, the panelists agreed that the future of news consumption will extensively be on social media platforms. Sahgal concluded, “I am hoping that news anchoring will come back to the basics and conversations.”

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