Up, close with Arnab Goswami

27 Apr,2017

 [updated, some typos removed and edited for clarity- Ed]

It’s not easy to do a soft interview with Arnab Goswami. And the problem is that if you do a hard interview, ask him some probing questions including a few on others in the media, it’s possible you’lol be served a legal notice. Which is also fine… if you’re in the kitchen, you must be ready to face the heat. So after some back-and-forth, this interview was fixed for Monday, April 24. It was 10am, we reached a few minutes late, and were called to the editorial conference room. There was much action in the newsroom, some screaming and shouting and laughing and, no, no howling, but it was nice to see a busy newsroom on a Monday morning. Arnab came in within a few minutes, we apologised for the delay and he did the same, and said he’ll come back as his laptop was missing.

There were some five people in his office who checked his bag, and we thought we had a nice story on our hands: Arnab’s laptop lost. Now could it be that someone from a competitor may have done that. After all its not unusual for confidential data and info leaking out. The first para of a news report was already in our heads. So were the words for a 120-character tweet. The laptop had all his plans, the Excel sheets, the numbers, the projections… everything. After five minutes, Arnab walked in. Smiling. The laptop was found. It was in a bag inside a big. A few minutes later, the laptop came. Steel grey Macbook Air.

Arnab in person is dramatically different from what you see him on television. Very gentle, very softspoken. And, most importantly, he listens to you. All ears. He doesn’t interject. He doesn’t shake his head while you are taking. Body language isn’t combative. He is like the Raymond’s man. Complete. Well, so are some big-name anchors, but it’s always a delight to meet Arnab, even if you disagree with his brand of journalism. Though there is no questioning his love for the country. And his commitment to credible journalism. He is one of the few journalists in the country who doesn’t mind asking the tough questions, on camera.

This is one of the reasons why it will be interesting to see if he can do it all over again with Republic TV. What’s also going to be worth tracking is how his channel fares vis-à-vis competition. And whether competition allows him to prosper. But more about that in another story, on another day.

Excerpts from a freewheeling 35-minute conversation MxMIndia editor-in-chief Pradyuman Maheshwari had with Republic TV founder and chief promoter Arnab Goswami. Enjoy.

 

Arnab Goswami: First of all, thanks for doing this.

Pradyuman Maheshwari: I’m very worried about this interview because one shouldn’t be taken to court. For, even though your answers in some interviews have been politically correct, the questions did name organisations and individuals…

If it carries on like this then all journalists of India will be marching to court all day instead of newsrooms(laughs).

So the question which, let me ask with a non-trademarked statement: India wants to know when is the launch?

Very soon, it’s a matter of days now. You’ve seen my newsroom, it’s buzzing with energy, I’m trying to get the product as close to being perfect as possible. There’s nothing like an absolutely perfect launch though. But having said that, we’re trying to sort of stitch things together… bring all parts of the piece together, get the team to integrate, believe in themselves, believe in the product, believe in the news they putout… get very, very familiar with the technology they are using because some of the technology you’re using here is…

Different?

Completely, completely new age. And so I want that familiarisation process to carry on so I’m not setting a hard date for launch yet, though if you ask me can I launch? I can launch right now.

So no Akshay Trittiya launch, April 28th?

No, no-no.

May 1, Maharashtra Day, Gujarat Day…

No, I don’t believe in these any commemorative events or dates. I believe every day is good for news… we should just have a good run, go with the flow.

But surely you need to inform the distribution folks?

The distribution guys are more or less informed. I think most of the people are aware of our channel being launched. In fact, we’re getting a push from the distribution guys to launch early. Some places have already started putting up promos on air in anticipation of our launch; our media campaign should be starting soon. So we are almost there.

The question is that, the last mile, 4-5 days here or there should be a discretion of the producers of the channel. So whenever the producer of the channel says we’re okay to go, I’ll go.

So, plus or minus the 4-5 days, May 10, May 1?

Yes. I would say, yes, pretty much around that.

May 1 and 10 are too far apart?

Yes that’s what, I don’t know, I frankly don’t know because that’s not a decision I have. I have a very delegated organisation. So when the editor and the editors and the producers come together and say we’re good to go I’ll go. That’s what we’ve told them. That you keep practising till you’re good to go but I’ve also told that  there’s nothing like getting things perfect.

Right.

No, you don’t get things perfect even after running a channel for 10 years and I would come back to my previous channel and find things completely messed up every morning… it was like starting every day as if you’re launching a new channel. So it’s not as if 10 years of familiarisation of running a workfloor makes it perfect, because eventually people are people. But we’ll try and get it as good as possible. I’m very confident of our product and I’m supremely confident about our look-and-feel, our stories, our journalism…

You mentioned that you’re a well-delegated organisation but surely it’s an Arnab Goswami operation.

Well, I mean, it, it is not, because  we have delegated responsibility to the youngest and most empowered bunch of editors in any channel. We have empowered our production team to a point where the president of the content of the channel is our Chief Executive Producer. They take decisions completely independently, graphics producers, non-linear editing producers, even news editors don’t ask me. My interaction is with the journalists on the stories. That’s my limited interaction. I can’t stop doing that because that’s my bread-and-butter but beyond that I feel that we have created a system where everybody fits in very well into each other like a jigsaw puzzle which comes together every morning and that’s actually what I enjoy doing. The reason I launched Republic is to make sure that people who are 10 to 15 years younger than me are able to do the news faster than I would have. And it’s a joy to see them working together. What I have done is put together my digital output, input, production, graphics and elite teams, all together in one gigantic newsroom which you are seeing here. You wouldn’t see a newsroom like this where everybody is working together and talking and familiarising and there’s no email conversation, generally people are sort of shouting instructions at each other, so its very well-delegated in that sense…

And what about you?

They don’t need me to come in.

You are now more than just a journalist, you are an entrepreneur. You need to look at how the channel will make the monies. How will you ensure that the great work you are doing on Day 1 also happens on Day 365?

Yes, yes

How much of that do you think is going to influence your journalism?

I think you set the basics right and then you say that these are the five things that we’ve got to do. I bring things down to basics, so I say let’s get the basics right. Let’s do these five things right today and then let’s find a way that these five things will be right regardless of who is sitting on the hot seat, so it’s fine. As far as making money is concerned, see, if you’re popular and you’re watched, and you have impact, people advertise on news channels. And then,  I don’t run an extra-lavish operation, neither is it a barebones operation. But if you are watched and have impact, and you have popularity and you have credibility most of all, then people advertise on English news channels. And I’m 100% confident that with the kind of response I’ve already got from the market, before launch, people believe in our product. I mean the best of the advertisers have lined up and are advertising with us from Day 1.

And the reason they are doing this is because they believe in the product that people put out, eventually it’s about the content. Eventually it is not about anything that you may do, eventually you may have all the money in the world tomorrow, to hire the most expensive lawyers and threaten to sue every competitor, but you will still lose if your content is not up to the mark… that’s it!

Distribution is also critical, right? You may have the best of content, but if you don’t spend the money on carriage fees and ensure that various DTH operators carry it, you lose viewership. And that’s a lot of money, it’s a guzzler.

Ah, well, I’m not negative about it.The fact is that we are already quite disruptive in that model. We are India’s first non-encrypted free-to-air English news channel. There’s no other channel in that space. People love us. Wherever I have gone and travelled across the country from Chennai to Kolkata, people have opened their arms.

You’ll hence not earn revenues from subscription.

Doesn’t matter. This is a labour of love. I want to make sure that this channel is watched everywhere in India.

And let me share something very personal with you. I’ve been to people, I’ve met distributors who come and say that one nervous competitor comes and tells them here is six months of money, extra upfront, can you block ‘Republic’ for two weeks? And yet those people say no. Because they know that when ‘Republic’ launches, everybody will want to watch it. People will want to watch my debate. Those attempts have now become what I call antediluvian.

Hmmm.

Right, it’s as antediluvian as a crocodile’s skin. You cannot go ahead anymore and say that I will pay you extra money, almost like ransom money, to try and ensure that another competitor doesn’t enter the market.

But dirty tricks is a common thing in many businesses. A ’90s cola ad screamed “ye cola hai ya gulab jamun’ when a competing brand launched. It happens with various domains… they ensure shopshelves don’t stock the new product.

Media is different. In media who is the original, who is the copy, is well-known to people, Also,  you’re actually bringing down whatever is left of the quality of your brand by resorting to  desperate dirty tricks measures… because the moment you do it, behind your back people are laughing at you. Behind the backs of people who are trying to pay six months extra upfront money and say don’t meet Arnab, don’t put out ‘Republic’ for two weeks. They’re even desperately saying if you can block ‘Republic’ for 10 days at the launch, we’ll be happy. Behind the backs of these people everybody laughs at them, so they become the laughing stock of the industry. What am I doing? I’m saying to people, I’m a free non-encrypted channel, I will promise you good journalism, I have good reporters, I have good producers, I’ll present a good product. And the entire distribution fraternity has welcomed me with love and open arms.

You’ve got someone like Sameer Manchanda of Den on your board, you’ve got Asianet which is a huge plus because we do know that English channels are very widely watched in the South. So you have all the big brains backing you…

Sameer is actually not on the Board, that’s mistaken, Sameer has invested in my holding company along with 13-14 other people. I never mortgage my personal friendships for business convenience.  I have a very professional equation with Den, and will continue to have a professional equation with Den, having Sameer as one of my investors does not influence at all my relationships with them.

Two charges have raised against you by an industry which is fairly positive towards you. One is about Rajeev Chandrasekhar being one of your primary investors…

Yes

That he has strong links to the NDA… That that given Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s association, will ‘Republic’ really be independent as Arnab claims it will be?

I’m very proud of the investment from Asianet Online Private Limited and why shouldn’t I be? It is the oldest media entity in India. As Asianet was started way back before any news channel including NDTV started. So there’s a history to the organisation, it has another couple of channels with it and I’m very happy to be associated with Asianet. And I hope that I will also be able to contribute to Asianet in my personal and professional capacity in the future, to its growth. And as far as Rajeev is concerned, he has been a media investor for over a decade now, and he’s invested in several other organisations as well and I am very glad that he through Asianet Online Private Limited has an investment here. I’m very proud of the association. Eventually, everyone who is an investor in this company is also a believer in my journalism.

Hypothetically, and given the way you do your journalism, if you get belligerent on something that could impact Rajeev’s investments.

It’s a completely hypothetical and ridiculous question. I’ll tell you why. You should check out: Asianet is the most critical of the BJP in Kerala as well. So when all of us who are in the media business, we work on the news that we carry, I don’t need lectures in balance from the Lutyens’ media, who have sold their souls for the longest time; these are the people who left me to dry when I did CWG, when I did Lalit Gate, these same Lutyens’ media was quiet about it, nervously sitting in one corner, not sure how to respond to it when I was taking on the BJP. I was boycotted by the BJP for a month-and-a-half. People who therefore are invested in me know my journalism. I’ll take on everyone and anyone. I’m only going to be on the side of the people.

Ah!

So, these are little straws in the wind. These arguments didn’t even fly.

The other charge…

And, and, and, and the point is, who is making these charges. Some person, some individual, who after remaining in India, working in India as a journalist for the longest time, still clings on to his American passport and then questions why people like me are nationalistic? I’m very clear about one thing: each one of the investors in ‘Republic’ believes in nationalism.

And it is time for people in India to come together and put their straight thoughts on how this country can be made great once again. That’s our common belief. That’s not a right wing belief, it’s a nationalistic belief.

The reason for my question was what we’ve seen in the case of Raghav Bahl and Network18. The channels were doing well but he had to sell out as went through a bad patch. In politics too we’ve had cases parties puling out of backing a minority government because of a fall-out. Is that a possible worry… just in case something goes wrong?

I don’t worry about anything because I’m so sure of my product. I don’t worry about anything, I’m a content creator. The only thing I worry about is my TV channel. How is the TV channel going to look? What kind of stories am I going to do? What pictures will run? What the graphics will be? I have never looked ahead at all or looked behind. I look at the next thing to do. The next thing to do at this stage of my professional career is to launch an English news channel called ‘Republic’. Then the next thing to do is to expand my digital presence, through Republic World. I will have a next thing to do after that within three or four months. You know me, I’ll keep shifting my goalpost in terms of my next target, every three to six months, but I’ll move wherever the news can go. See I have respect for Raghav, for Prannoy [Roy], for Karan Thapar, for Rajdeep Sardesai, all these people who are much older to me, they have a right to do things their way, they’ve done things their way, why should I comment on them? But this is 2017. I’m doing things my way.

It’s interesting that you say you have respect for Rajdeep, I thought you’ll were at loggerheads…

No, I, why should I be at loggerheads? See, Rajdeep comes from a generation of seniors who have done their bit at that particular point of time and it’s good for him. I wish him luck in whatever he does.

Tell me, how is Republic going to be different from what you did before, is there going to be…

I don’t even feel the need for it to be different. I was away from TV for a while and I’m back, and what I do now will be watched for what people like it for. I don’t want to try and do anything in life with this forced pressure on me to be different. I don’t want to be different. I just want to be myself and I think that’s good enough if I can break the news that I like in the way that I want to, good shows that I like and integrate good technology. But one thing is there: that if in the process of doing so, I can marry technology with the intellectual prowess of people who are in their 20s and early 30sand  really understand how to funnel TV and digital together, that’ll be some, small contribution I can make…

This is also the most fickle generation. As in the loyalty doesn’t exist to any specific show… is that a worry?

No I’m not worried because while it’s a fickle generation I think today you can create new brands very quickly.

True.

With good content. I am actually very happy about the fact that today the media is fragmentable and fragmented. It keeps us on our toes. We are not here to build organisations that say that nobody will compete with us and we will try and build moats around ourselves to ensure that our dominance is forever. I can’t do it. Tomorrow somebody can launch another organisation and challenge me. I would be very willing and open to that challenge. It’s fine. No problem.

In the past, we seen ratings drop whenever you would go on leave.

Yes

And, there there was no second line. A few people who could have been second in line moved out. Now that you are doing a business and you are responsible for people’s jobs and people’s livelihood. Will there be a second line?

Yes, there is a second line

On Day 1?

There is going to be a second line on Day 1. Both in terms of anchors and editorial talent, so what I’ve done is that along with our executive editors and editors, there are about seven people in the second line editorially. And there are at least about six people in the second line in terms of anchoring talent. Besides which I have a very very strong and independent production team, which is now being made completely independent, which runs the entire organisation. I have bequeathed the responsibility of running the organisation on editorial on a day-to-day basis to this group, and they are able to manage it.

You have done that?

Yes, I have already done that…

Seriously?

While I’m managing it of course, I’ve got to be looking at everything in terms of quality control. But if you ask me in terms of day-to-day, minute-to-minute operations, I intend to create a system where the wheels of the organisation run even without me for a few days.

And this is very important for me to do because then I can strategically look at other ways in which I can improve the quality of the news, improve the quality of the shows which I do. It will give me more time to think and plan. Having said that, even in my previous organisation, I’d already done it. Now what has happened that after I’ve gone, I’m not responsible for, but while I was there, I had run that kind of a system.

But…

Since I’m anchoring a critical slot which is doing well, it gives a perception that everything centres around this individual. The viewer associates the organisation with me. But as an organisation, I’ll take you around our studios and our PCR  and you’ll feel it’s not really [a one-person show].

But you deserve a holiday, you may get busy with other things. So on those days, ratings shouldn’t fall, right?

No ratings will not fall, don’t worry. We’re going to be up there on the ratings charts.

Yes, but there should be a clear second line.

There is a very strong second line. We have Sheetal Rajput who is India’s original war correspondent, she’s is with us as a senior news editor and anchor. Parikshit Luthra, who would do 9pm on CNN-IBN, has joined us. He’s the news editor in Delhi. We have Hariharan who is a very famous anchor from Tamil Nadu, from Thanthi TV. He has also joined us, he’s a fantastic anchor. Niranjan Narayanswamy, who used to be anchoring on Times Now, is also editor and is anchoring on the channel… I have a very, very strong base of anchors on the channel.

So just in case you’re not on air on a day, who’ll be the anchor?

We’ll be firing all cylinders, don’t worry. It’s unlikely that I won’t be there because I have this habit of anchoring from all remote locations at any point of time, I carry a camera with me and nowadays, technology is so brilliant, I can anchor with a phone. I have got a software which if I put it on my Samsung phone or any phone, I mic myself up, and I can broadcast from any place in the world. So I’ve got that technology and I’m working a lot on mobile devices for uplinking, and have been experimenting with stuff that is not been done before for uplinking.

Two other charges… one of which has been also used by other channels that your brand of journalism is more noise and less of news.

Yes.

Are you going to be the same and are happy with that charge?

I mean I’m thankful to all those people who have carried these campaigns.They can keep carrying the campaigns and I am grateful to them. In fact I would request all of them to carry a few more negative campaigns. They help me. In the year before last, India Today did an entire campaign around this ‘more news, more noise’ kind of thing. Even now NDTV did this whole campaign on more news… why don’t they care about what’s going on in their own organisations rather than talk about me? Let them all fend for themselves, I’ll fend for myself. I have a clear philosophy: in this country, you have to shout to be heard. When we say shout, we mean it in a metaphorical way. You have to assert yourself. You have to raise the right issue. And also sometimes raise it to the right amplitude for it to get attention. You cannot be coy about things and expect the world to change.

What about the charge that in the latter half of your stint in your previous channel, the orientation was more towards the right. Nationalism got translated often to you being pro-BJP, pro the philosophy of BJP and the philosophy of RSS.You were soft towards Narendra Modi…

It’s a ridiculous charge. We did LalitGate, was it pro-BJP? For a month-and-a-half we did LalitGate…  We got boycotted by the BJP, was it because we were pro-BJP? We got boycotted by the Aam Aadmi Party, was it because we were pro-AAP? We got boycotted by the Congress, was it because we were pro-Congress? Name one organisation which was boycotted by all three major political parties for stories it did. It was us, and I’m so proud about it! See, some people are touchy for long, some people are touchy for shorter period of time. It doesn’t really matter. As far as my views on the country are concerned, they’ve been consistent even during the Congress government. Tou would remember that after 26/11, I hammered the foreign policy of the Congress government. I questioned it. Anand Sharma and Pranab Mukherjee were incharge at that point of time in South Block, I took on both of them. I questioned them, so my stance on issues of corruption and nationalism has been consistent through the Congress period and the BJP.

Just because the BJP is in power right now and my position on issues of the nation and nationalism seems to be closer to their perspective, doesn’t make me pro-BJP at all. I disagreed with the Aman ki Asha… why should I agree with the Aman ki Asha approach? This candyfloss daffodil diplomacy that is being encouraged by some media groups is their business. They should introspect. If you see me, while I was in The Times of India, I didn’t ever follow the Aman ki Asha approach. I refused to because I don’t agree with it. Editorially, conceptually, as an Indian, I don’t agree with it and I will not do.

So suppose…

So, so the Congress was in power at that time, was I tuning what I did on air to suit a Salman Khurshid’s line on foreign policy? I didn’t. My line is my line and it comes from the heart and my team believes in it and even if they don’t.

Supposing someone from your team does an Arnab Goswami to you… that he or she may have his own line of thinking which may not agree with yours. What happens then?

It’s good, it’s okay. We won’t send them a legal notice.

But you or your associates sent a legal notice to the Wire?

Who?

The Wire was sent a legal notice.

I don’t want to comment on insignificant groups like the Wire. They should really introspect on what journalism they do. If they need me to sell their digital site, I’m sorry for them. It seems to me that they are obsessed with me because there’s no other way they are going to get a few hits. I hope they got a few hits as a result of whatever they put. I spoke to that reporter only because I know him for a long time in NDTV. And I told him when I was speaking to him that I know you are going to do a hit job on me but I’m still speaking to you out of our old association. And he he was laughing away and he knew that I had seen through his game. Sometimes I respect old friendships, so I spoke to him. As far as the Wire is concerned I really hope that they get a few hits because from what I’m seeing from the statistics, nobody seems to be following them.

You would have Siddharth Varadarajan on your panel, in fact after the Rahul Gandhi interview, you had review the interview.

Siddharth should introspect on what he’s doing. He is another older generation person. I don’t quarrel with people who are older to me, he should generally introspect now. Think about whether it is time for him to do some journalism rather than commentary.

Let’s move on…

No, no, no, let me tell you that.

Yes?

It’s very important for people who are doing these digital sites to stop pontificating about others in the media all the time and start doing some stories of their own. It would be really nice. Let them actually roll up their sleeves, go out there, do a few interviews, meet a few people, get out of their Lutyens’ zones, transport themselves outside the ephemeral reality of their air-conditioned chambers in Lutyens’ Delhi, see the real country, watch what’s happening out there, and stop becoming preachy. People in this country are tired of preachers in journalism.

Hmmm.

So, therefore, not just to Siddharth, but to a lot of people I would say: start doing some news rather than commenting on the people who are doing news. But I really hope that the Wire gets a few hits because I think they need a few. (Laughs)

You’ve spoken about Lutyens’ Delhi etc in the past and you’ve been in Mumbai for a while. Didn’t you think of having your headquarters elsewhere…  say, in Bengaluru?

No, headquarters can be anywhere. It can be in Bengaluru, it can be in Kerala, it can be in Guwahati, it can be in Kolkata, it can be in Srinagar also, but it should not be in Delhi.

You’re not worried about the film stars who lobby stuff in Mumbai?

Doesn’t matter so much.

Or the business guys.

Film stars and business guys never influence me, I’ve taken on a lot of them whenever I did 2G, CWG, Aircel, Maxus, I’ve seen them through and through at that point of time. As far as film stars are concerned I’m not running award shows where I need film stars to jump around.  So I don’t need to oblige them.

You will never ever do award shows as part of Republic?

I’m running a news channel, I don’t have time to organise award shows.

Person of the Year etc?

I don’t know, right now I’m only focused on the news.

So tell me once again

No, you asked me about film stars, award shows, my answer to you was I don’t need film stars to jump around in award shows that I’m doing. So I’m not necessarily in a position where any film director or film stars need to be on good terms with me and even if they don’t choose to be, it’s fine with me. Some people may need that. Some people might need film stars to oblige them to be photographed with them.

I’m going to get a legal notice now (laughs).

No, no, I’m making a general observation that there may be some people who constantly need to be photographed with film stars, directors, to dance around, be photographed with, to feel good about. I don’t need that kind of gratification because I’m a journalist.

Tell me something: we are 10 days away from launch. In fact, we at MxM wrote that some people feel that you are overdoing your promotion. Your ‘love letters’ and the way you reacted to the legal notice which was a standard statutory notice… Do you think you’re overdoing it?

I didn’t respond to the legal notice, in fact I’ll tell you one thing, I’ve under-responded to the legal notice. Let them take me on. Let them take me on. I would request the group that has sent me a legal notice to publish in the front page of their newspaper whether they have a right to claim that they crafted the words ‘nation wants to know’ and the sole right to use it. I want the results of that poll to be published, across eight column on the front page of the same newspaper…

So why did you want to trademark it?

I’m doing a show. If I’m doing a show called ‘Nation wants to know’ I’ll put out a trademark application but have I said that I will arrest everybody who uses the name? I don’t. I walked down Palladium and I see T-shirts being sold with ‘Nation wants to know’. Now, am I going to arrest the person who sells the T-shirts with ‘Nation wants to know’.  And I think every Indian has a right to use that name, every Indian should use that name. And it is more an assertion, of the questioning spirit of the average Indian citizen. Nobody can appropriate it for themselves and, by the way, I also said in my letter that way. I said quite clearly. And this I’m making a general observation: if any media group makes it its central mission to harass journalists who quit, then it should reassess its own style of operations. If any media group says that if you quit, I will deny you our provident fund, your gratuity… I will hound you, I will send letters to you saying you’ll face untoward action, which are like open threats, right? It is certainly not the kind of practice which should be allowed in the media fraternity. I genuinely believe today if somebody quits my organisation, I’m not going to hound them. I’m not going to make life terrible for them. But I have also seen some young people in my organisation who have been hounded, who have been followed, who have been harassed, who have been denied their dues, denied their monthly payments, right? All of us have stood together for each other. This group of people you see working here (pointing to the newsroom) are people who’ve stood for each other and said we will not be cowed down.

Are you….

And therefore, as a general observation, I’m repeating once again my advice is to all media groups to stop using these tactics of legal intimidation versus each other because it doesn’t fetch any returns in the long term.

But you were part of large organisations too…

I’m making a general observation. My general, unsolicited gratuitous advice to people who are doing that is they shouldn’t…

Moving on, tell me, will you do paid content to earn revenues?

I never sell news.

AFPs etc.?

I never sell news. Advertorials are different, but I never sell news and I would not allow it on Republic. It’s my clear and straightforward statement to you.

Last question: To the person who’s not too much into the news business and not bothered about the battles in the media, what is Republic going to offer?

Republic is independent, straightforward, hits at everybody equally. It covers the news life from all places, is far more funneled between digital and television, far more technologically savvy. And truly an organisation in which all reporters have the free spirit to go out and report on what they want. In that sense, it’s a revolution. It’s also classically a generational shift in the Indian media. It’s an assertion by content professionals that they can run large mainstream news organisations on their own. It is also a breakaway from unfortunate systems of dynasty which have pervaded in Indian media, where people have only inherited organisations and not built them. This organisation is built brick by brick. It is an assertion to all legacy media groups as a warning to those individuals that do not believe today, that you can, in today’s day of digital and television which continue to have monopolies. Monopolies are about to fall. All these actions that you are seeing, the nervous capers, the dirty tricks of all these people who are trying to  thwart the launch of Republic, are actually an acknowledgement that when Republic launches, their countdown will start from that moment. It is therefore a conflict between new media and legacy media. Republic is new media. I know I’m up against legacy media, I know I’m up against Lutyens’ media, I want legacy media and Lutyens’ media to come together and try and outthink me. Because I said it very clearly, this is a David versus Goliath fight. You’re a journalist, at the end of the day you do know, you will watch a channel, if you believe in the story.

They have the marketing muscle… they will take away all the hoardings and all the space in the newspapers

Let them take… let anybody take away all the hoardings, all the space in the newspapers, everything. Let them strip all their physical assets away and say we will deny Arnab all of it, it doesn’t matter.

So, May 10?

Somewhere around. It seems you also can’t wait (Laughs). Pradyuman, I have a question for you.

Yes, ask.

At the end of the day, will you watch Republic on air?

Of course I will.

That’s my straight question.

Of course I will watch.

I’m very happy for you.

 

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One response to “Up, close with Arnab Goswami”

  1. ashok759 says:

    Arnab Goswami should prove his critics wrong, be independent, autonomous, equidistant from sources of power.

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