Podcast: Is TV news relevant in India today?
Following up on their last webinar, “Is TV news dead”, Roli Books brought together another panel to debate the other aspect of the topic, “Television News: Relevance and Credibility in Today’s India”. Abhinandan Sekhri, co-founder of Newslaundry, was joined by Nidhi Razdan, executive editor of NDTV, and Saahil Menghani, news reporter and anchor.
Razdan argued that the continued popularity of television news showed that it was still popular. “It is not dead, simply because viewership has gone up massively since the pandemic began.” She later added, “There are actually more people watching television today after the pandemic started, many more people.”
In response, Abhinandan pointed to the absence of “news” in the primetime shows aired by some of India’s most popular TV channels. “Even if they get 100 percent of the viewership, I would still say that TV news is dead,” he added. “Because what they are watching is not news.”
Menghani argued that the coverage of the Delhi carnage and the coronavirus pandemic had narrowed the “gap in credibility” between television and digital media. Discussing Barkha Dutt’s coverage of the migrant crisis, Menghani said “one individual singlehandedly changed the narrative, rather set the agenda for most of the news channels. That excludes NDTV because from day one, they have been getting it right.”
They also discussed the business model of TV channels, the lack of pushback from advertisers, the entertainment aspect of TV “news”, and layoffs in the media industry during the pandemic.
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