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A good journalist should do investigative stories and hold power to account, says Nidhi Razdan

Apeejay Stya University-School of Journalism and Mass Communication recently organised a masterclass on News Reporting and Anchoring for its students



Apeejay Stya University-School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) recently held a masterclass with Nidhi Razdan, a TV personality and recipient of several awards including Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism for reporting from Jammu and Kashmir and North-eastern India.

The theme of the masterclass was ‘News Reporting and Anchoring’. Over 30 students of SJMC along with faculty members of different departments participated in the interactive session. The session was also live on Facebook which was attended by students.

In a straightforward interview with Nidhi Razdan, she talks about her take on forms of new medium of storytelling like mobile journalism, insta stories, podcasts and trial by media.

How is Indian media different from Western when it comes to reporting?

Yes, we are certainly different. If we look at the British Press, for example, they are so critical of the government. They don’t spare their Prime Minister; they don’t spare their leaders. They ask tough questions. Look at the way their reporters ask questions of those who are in power and authority. Compared to them, we are very tame. Most of the mainstream media today, in India, is fawning in its coverage of the government; it doesn’t ask difficult questions. It doesn’t hold power to account. There are some honourable exceptions and the digital media is doing a much better job in India on this front.

Would you agree that social media has changed how people are consuming news? Is this a good, bad and an ugly trend?

Like everything, I think it is both. What is great about social media is that you have multiple sources of information at your fingertips quickly. But there is also the danger of getting unverified information. So, it is very important, as a consumer of news, to be aware about what source is carrying that information. Is it a credible news organisation? Is it something that is well-known? Or is it an unknown Twitter handle? You have to be careful when you sift through that information that what you are getting is genuine.

Has the news consumption habits of 16-to 40-year-olds changed the narrative of news?

I think it has changed formats in a big way. This is because a lot of people are getting their news on their (smart) phones, social media; they are getting it in real-time. This has forced TV channels to reinvent a little. That is why you see so many analyses, post-in-events, and high-pitched debates to name a few. Newspapers have had to do in-depth reporting though they have largely remained traditional in how they cover a story. They try to do explainers. This is a good thing.

For example, Indian Express had an article on (March 24, 2023): What are the laws under which Rahul Gandhi may get disqualified as an MP? They explained that in detail including the old Supreme Court judgment in this. So, everyone has been forced to reinvention and because of that online is so popular. This has made a big difference in the way news is consumed and the way it is presented.

Would you agree that self-regulation is better for the media than restrictions by other means?

Absolutely. I don’t think the government should be involved at all in regulating the media. It is a very slippery slope. All governments irrespective of which party they are, they want to control narratives and they want to control the Press. And if you (media) allow them a foot-in-the-door, they will just take over completely. So, if the media wants to be independent, which it should, it must ensure that any regulation is self-regulation so that it is effective.

What is your opinion on trial by the media?

I think it is terrible. It is not the media’s job to put people on trial. It is shameful; some of the reporting we saw in the Sushant Singh Rajput or the Rhea Chakraborty case. The way she was maligned and vilified. We saw what the court said about that later. Similarly, there have been other cases where there has been a trial by the media. And it has been an extremely unethical and slippery slope to be on.

What is your take on new medium of storytelling like mobile journalism, insta-stories, and podcasts?

It is the future and that is fantastic. It has also opened up new opportunities and avenues for all people. It has given us, people like me, different ways to do the new.

What are the positive aspects of journalism in India today?

The positives are that there are still independent digital media outlets and some newspapers that are doing a good job and are doing what a good journalist should do – which is to do investigative stories, to hold power to account, and to ask tough questions. So, that is good. The fact that we have a very vibrant digital media is the biggest thing. This is because everything else will become obsolete over a period of time. So, the digital media is the future where people are literally doing their stuff on their phones and on YouTube and they are doing a good job. This is the biggest positive for me in this difficult media environment.

The new medium of storytelling is the future and that is fantastic. It has also opened up new opportunities and avenues for all people. It has given us, people like me, different ways to do the new

Nidhi Razdan, TV Personality

Shalini is an Executive Editor with Apeejay Newsroom. With a PG Diploma in Business Management and Industrial Administration and an MA in Mass Communication, she was a former Associate Editor with News9live. She has worked on varied topics - from news-based to feature articles.

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