Vinod Dua: 'A fearless champion of news media who influenced generations of journalists'
Mehraj Dube, Head of Marketing at ABP News and former Associate Editor at NDTV India, remembers Dua
Vinod Dua was always ‘khabardar’. Vinod ji is one of the leading faces who helped establish broadcast journalism in the country, and inspired generations of youngsters coming into the field.
While his Bofors interview made him a household name overnight, his many contributions to the industry mean India’s TV news industry owes him a great deal.
Always a dedicated worker, he would rarely take leaves. On the rare occasions that he took a break from his show Khabardar India (which aired on NDTV India in the 2000s), I would step in to substitute as the host. I would always be very nervous because I was doing Vinod ji’s show. But when he returned, he would give feedback and would always have something positive and encouraging to say, which was very inspiring to me as his junior. This is something I will always remember about him.
Another unique thing about Vinod ji was that if he found out that any of his juniors had any information or knowledge, he would always come and ask them without hesitation or ego. He would ask about the economy or stock market happenings, things he could use on his show. I still remember him coming and saying, “Mehraj, the Budget is coming up, tell me three major developments that could impact it,” and things like that.
That is the mark of a true journalist; someone who’s always on the search for information and is completely open to acquiring domain knowledge from a subject expert.
My most vivid memory of him is from the 26/11 attack coverage. He was live on his show, and I was standing outside the Trident Hotel. At that time, commandos were entering the hotel and as they were entering they said ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai,’ and I couldn’t show it on camera at that time. When I was mentioning it during my live report a little later talking about the stress of the moment, he misunderstood something I said and commented on it, and since it was live TV I couldn’t stop him.
Three days later, when I returned to Delhi and was getting off from the flight, my phone rang and it was Vinod Dua calling to apologize for misunderstanding me on live TV and interrupting me.
And it is this humility and sense of openness that defined Vinod ji. For him, every journalist had the same calling: to inform the public. There were no hang-ups about who is junior or senior, or apologising if one made a mistake, or learning about a subject as much as possible so as to inform the public correctly.
His name will always rank high among the first generation of Hindi TV broadcasters, and a big contribution of his will be setting the precedent for journalists to move to TV.
(As told to Shantanu David)
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