Our focus will be on citizens & the younger generation: Faye D’Souza, Mirror Now
D’Souza, Executive Editor at Mirror Now and the winner of News Television Editor-in-Chief of the Year at the ENBA event, explains how the news channel will cover the General Elections this year
Mirror Now took home a lot of awards at the exchange4media News Broadcasting Awards (ENBA) conducted this year. The channel won awards such as the ‘News Channel of The Year (English) – Jury Choice’; ‘News Television Editor-in-Chief of The Year’ (English) - Faye D’Souza, Executive Editor’; ‘Best News Coverage - Mahul-The Toxic Hell’ and ‘Best Talk Show’- ‘VERIFIED’.
exchange4media spoke to Faye D’Souza, Executive Editor, Mirror Now about her win at the ENBA awards. She explained what this award stands for, how the channel is looking to cover the upcoming elections and why the best form of criticising a channel for its content is not watching it at all. Here's the excerpt from the interview.
What does an award of such nature make you feel?
When we started mirror now, we did that with the idea of giving the viewers an alternative. The alternative comes in every decision that we make. This award is the testament to the fact that the choices we made were on the right track. The confidence that the channel is on the right track. It gives you confidence in the aim that we have for this channel.
A few days back, you tweeted that the channel will go slow with the news updates. What made you take that stand?
Mirror Now has always been doing this. In a situation like the one that we had in this conflict with Pakistan, there was a lot of information that was unofficial. India Government has not given us any confirmation on any of the information. So we decided we are not going to carry any information that are coming from Pakistan side and wait for Indian Government's confirmation. As a result, the audience must have felt there is nothing on the channel. So I wanted to explain to people why we weren't carrying the information on the channel.
Media also faced a lot of criticism for the coverage on the India-Pakistan conflict. What's your take on the matter?
Obviously, I cannot answer for other channels. In Mirror Now, we have decided a couple of things. At a time when the country is in conflict, we stand with the country. We have to be responsible as a media especially in case of Television news because it goes live across the country and also across the border. There were people on the other side who quoted Indian media and used it against us. They picked up what a few politicians had said and used it against us. There is a certain sense of responsibility. Also, it is my opinion that in situations like that it is not necessary to give a ball-by-ball update to the viewer. We waited until the government announced it and we carried what the Government said.
When you take a call like that, it does affect the viewership...
When we take the call, we obviously don't know how the viewers will react. But we honestly believe that the credibility that we gain will last us much longer than the viewership of that one week. I would rather be more credible than have higher viewership for that one week. If it affects viewership, I don't care. I don't think that's important. If you have country on one side and viewership on the other, I think the answer is very obvious. In the long term, this is more important and this award is an example of that.
What will be your strategy for the General Elections coverage?
The larger aim of the channel is citizen focus. We look at every story from the citizen's point of view. Our focus will be on citizens and particularly the younger generation. India has a huge number of young citizens who will be voting this year. Some for the first time; some are under 30. It's very important to set the tone for our country. These are the people we are going to be talking to. We will be talking about what the young people are voting for, what are the issues that matter to them, how do we help them access information that will make them take a better decision.
But every channel has already started talking about their special election shows. What's Mirror Now's plan for the Election coverage?
That's the job; to come up with shows, ideas. Our plan will be to travel extensively across the country. My colleague Tanvi Shukla will be conducting town halls across country. The idea is to create a buzz in your city. We will come to you. We will also be speaking to a lot of younger leaders. We have managed to connect with the younger India better than any other channel because we have a young team and we understand what people are glong through in that age group.
How do you deal with sensationalism in Mirror Now?
We spend extra 20 mins on a story to double check the facts. We will give the news a little late than everybody else but we will take the trouble or time to make sure that it is true. Credibility is far more important to us than breaking it then and there. In terms of what other channels do, I know there is a lot of criticism right now. I feel the best form of criticising someone you believe is being sensational or irresponsible, you shouldn't watch that channel. We obviously can't dictate what you should watch but as an audience you have the power in your hand that nobody else does.
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