Shruti Pushkarna: A year of learning happily

10 Sep,2012

By Shruti Pushkarna

 

It’s been a wonderful one year at MxM and of course, for MxM. I joined MxMIndia a little before we launched the website, August 22 to be precise. Unlike the usual emotions attached to a start-up – will it do well or not, what kind of a response will it garner, et cetera – I had none of those feelings when I started out. For me it just seemed right to join MxM, there was a sense of positivity about it. And looks like I wasn’t wrong at all!

 

For a start-up, MxMIndia has done exceedingly well, creating quite a reputation for itself in the industry. My personal journey has seen ups and ups in the last one year. Being a television producer, I joined MxM with a focus on video content. But as is true for most start-ups, you can hardly stick to a fixed profile of work. When I look back now, I can say I got a chance to do a lot of other stuff that I wouldn’t have done in my conventional role as a TV producer. But back then, the first time I was writing and reporting a story, the idea seemed ridiculous! Now, one has to understand that in conventional TV terms, a producer is very different from a reporter; might I even add, a producer deems it unfit to be compared with a reporter. So you can imagine the plight of a high-headed producer when he/she, who thinks of reporters as lesser mortals, is expected to report and write a story! But I must thank MxMIndia for giving me that chance to explore other areas of work.

 

I got a chance to write stories, interview people, shoot and edit video stories and more! There were instances when I approached a story that I had no inkling of. The more scared I would be to take up something that I had no knowledge of, the more delighted I would be at finishing the story because there was so much I had learnt in the process. One such instance was, when CA Media announced its investment in two Indian companies, Endemol India and Only Much Louder. I must confess I couldn’t have done much without the help of my Editor, but the fact that I wrote a big story, and had three separate interviews following from the story, made me feel alive!

 

The more scared I would be to take up something that I had no knowledge of, the more delighted I would be at finishing the story because there was so much I had learnt in the process.

But the best example is actually of my reportage on Digitization (of cable television). That was one subject, I knew nothing of. I remember the first event I covered and this was essentially video coverage (I wasn’t writing a story then) was an Assocham summit on Digitization. While I drove to the venue, my Editor explained me terms that would be commonplace in a discussion on digitization, like sunset date, ARPUs etc. I felt challenged and least interested! Little did I know, I would be covering and reporting extensively on the subject a few months later. From knowing nothing of Digitization, to writing reports on issues and implications of Digitization, to tracking ground-level preparedness for Digitization, to interviewing key stakeholders in Digitization, I can proudly say I’ve done it all. Of course, with regular lessons from my Editor again, who helped me understand the subject and issues at hand.

 

Another recent story I enjoyed covering, was when the English news channel NewsX was acquired by ITV Group. Now for some context, I worked for NewsX and saw two or even more management changes in my tenure with the company. So clearly there was a personal curiosity at work while I was reporting the recent management change. Also because the new owner of the channel, Kartikeya Sharma happens to be the son of leading Haryana Congress leader Venod Sharma and the brother of Manu Sharma, a convict in the Jessical Lal murder case. This fact had left reporters and senior journalists at NewsX worried and there were speculations in the media as to how this might affect or change the channel’s stand on this issue. When I got a chance to speak to Mr Sharma, I posed the same question to him, and even though he was furious at me for bringing it up, I convinced him it was best if he addressed the question putting all speculation to rest. And he did.

 

There have been many learning episodes, many memorable incidents in this past one year. MxM Mondays was a recent addition on the website, and I am happy and proud to have contributed the first two stories to the new section. One was on the issue of media ownership and the other on the state of media education. The format allowed me to speak to a host of people and learn of differing opinions on the respective issues. Again, an interesting experience, in the sense that it wasn’t a regular news story.

 

Recently I interviewed veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar as he released his latest book. First of all, he remembered me from the last time I’d interviewed him, that was four years ago for a story on Indira Gandhi and the Emergency. I was pleasantly surprised. Of course the interview was great, but the best part of it all was, our little tete-a-tete in Punjabi. I have been born and brought up in Delhi, so the little Punjabi I know is from what I hear my folks talk on the dinner table. But my grandfather comes from Lahore and my parents from Ludhiana and Jalandhar. Mr Nayar was quite disappointed with me for not having an authentic Punjabi (Lahoriya) accent despite my celebrated roots!

 

I could go on writing because there are so many stories that come to mind when I look back.

Cheers to Team MxM! Happy First Anniversary MxMIndia and here’s to many more!

 

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