Connect with us

Alumni Speak

Becoming a news anchor were my Plan A and Plan B, says this broadcaster and Apeejay Mahavir Marg alumna

Popular TV presenter, anchor, public speaker, emcee, coach and digital content creator Ritika Jhanji Jagtiani turned a crisis into an opportunity and ended up hosting a record number of shows in a year when the world was battling Covid-19



Celebrated television anchor, presenter, public speaker, emcee, coach and digital content creator Ritika Jhanji Jagtiani was awarded the BW APPLAUSE Best Emcee of the Year, 2020 honour. It isn’t every day that you come across such a versatile anchor who can host impactful nationwide campaigns on TV, while hosting one of the most watched digital stock market editions and engaging in banter with IPL players, all at the same time. In an informal chat, the Apeejay School, Mahavir Marg alumna shares the milestones of her professional journey, why she is grateful to mentors such as Dr Prannoy Roy and how her spectacular foray into public speaking began in class 8 with reciting William Wordsworth’s poem Daffodils on the stage in her alma mater. Edited excerpts:

Please tell us about your professional journey so far and your profile as a television anchor, presenter and broadcaster?
It has been a long journey from my first television appearance in 2002 to hosting more 120 shows in 2021! I am an acclaimed broadcast media professional, TV presenter and live events anchor with more than 15 years of experience with the most reputed news networks in the country that include NDTV and Republic TV.  I take pride in the fact that I have seamlessly managed to carve a career across all platforms: TV, digital and live events and within those platforms, every possible genre of content.

Did you always want to be in this field in this specialisation when you were younger? How did you end up choosing this kind of a career?

This is what I always wanted to do. Even as a child, I would hold a newspaper in front of the mirror and pretend to be a news anchor. This was my Plan A and Plan B! 

The fact that my dad was running a successful event management company, which was quite rare for those times, helped me get a very personal feel of the profession and made me even more interested. 

In your journey in the world of TV journalism, how important was the first job as a learning ground? Did you have any mentors who helped you?

I am lucky to have started my journey with NDTV. It was not just a workplace but a school where you learnt while watching the best in the industry. I started as a weather anchor in 2002, worked really hard on extending the role of a weather anchor to that of a weather correspondent. Soon, I was picked up for news reporting from there and again handpicked for news anchoring after some time. I will forever be grateful to Dr. Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy for setting a culture that always nurtured merit and talent. And I owe it all to my biggest mentors, supporters and critics, my parents. Without them, none of this would have happened!  

What, according to you, is the mantra for being a successful TV anchor and emcee? 

The mantra to be successful in any profession is to invent yourself and then keep reinventing. But of course, you need to have the ‘nose for news’ and keep cultivating it, very good communication skills and the consistency to keep at it despite the long hours. 

How was your experience of the time you spent at Apeejay School, Mahavir Marg, Jalandhar? Are there any faculty members you remember in particular?

Oh yes! That’s where the seed was sown! I was handpicked for a poem recitation in class 8 by Ms.Meera Javed. I still remember I recited Daffodils by William Wordsworth and went on to win the individual third prize. After that, I participated in every debate in school and went on to win the state level declamation competition in class 12, was awarded the best debater and the best English speaker along with being the Head Girl of my batch. I will forever be thankful to Ms. Meera Javed who encouraged me to participate at every level. 

Are there any life lessons, which you picked up in school that have helped you in your career?
I discovered my passion for public speaking at the school, because of the school. I am still doing it and fuelling my passion

Please share some tips for those who may want to follow your career trajectory.

Public speaking isn’t something needed just to be a good anchor, it is a skill that can make you stand out in any profession. So work on it!  Stay updated on the current affairs, especially if you want to pursue the news genre. You have the advantage of digital media that you can use right away. Start creating content and practicing your public speaking and storytelling skills. This will really prep you for a long term career. 

Did the Covid-19 pandemic affect your sector as well? And how did you overcome that challenge? 

Covid was a universal challenge. Physical events completely dried up, TV studios had to operate with minimum manpower but it is only out of challenges that opportunities arise. The boom in digital content happened.  Shows moved to video conferencing apps, we learnt to work in a TV studio while digitally connecting to guests. 2021, the year that saw the worst of Covid, had me host 127 shows in all! Not just that, I also launched Masterclass with Ritika Jhanji, a public speaking course to help others talk better. 

Are there any TV anchors who inspire you? Does good research and gravitas matter in a world where TRP ratings call the shots?

My favourites are Dr. Prannoy Roy, Shekhar Gupta, Ravish Kumar and Rajdeep Sardesai. In my choice lies the answer to the second question. All these names are known for their extensive research, presenting facts in a very simple-to-understand way and have their own style of storytelling.

Aasheesh Sharma is a seasoned journalist with an experience of more than 25 years spread over newspapers, news agencies, magazines and television. He has worked in leadership positions in media groups such as Hindustan Times, India Today, Times of India, NDTV, UNI and IANS. He is a published author and his essay on the longest train journey in India was included in an anthology of writings on the railways, brought out by Rupa Publications. As the Editor of Apeejay Newsroom, he is responsible for coverage of the latest news and developments in the Apeejay institutions. He can be reached at [email protected] He tweets @Aasheesh74