It’s The Independent Journalist. The MxMIndia Mediaperson of the Year 2020

18 Dec,2020



By Pradyuman Maheshwari



Greetings! It’s that time of the year when we announce the MxMIndia Mediaperson of the Year. Unlike various other awards and presentations, this is done via MxMIndia, not through an event. This ensure we aren’t dictated by the demands (and exigencies) of sponsors and the constraints that venues and budgets put us under. So, it’s just an online announcement.


First, a quick look at how we are different from various other awards/title presentations:


It’s not based on a survey. It’s not based on any industry poll. It is based on a study conducted by us through the year. This makes the decision-making tougher, as we can’t pass the blame on to research. Or the collective view of the industry. Or of a jury.


Second, it’s an A&M industry study. Agreed CEOs of big clients are important, but we are looking at CMOs and not CEOs of well-marketed organisations. And we look at journalists, creative folk… almost every person in the A&M&E sector. We don’t look at politicians, else you know who would be a permanent Mediaperson of the Year 😉


Third, we look at performance through the year, and do not base it on the highs of the last two quarters of a year which tend to influence any voting-based process at the yearend.


Fourth, it’s about performance in the year. The highs and highs achieved in this calendar year.


Fifth, we give you a clear reason why we have chosen the winner


Sixth, we are as sincere and honest about the awards as one can get. A few years back there were suggestions that we should make it an on-ground event. But then that comes with its own set of issues (and compulsions). We even had one large media group expressing its interest five years back. But we think it could’ve influenced our decision-making.


Seventh, we do it with no intent of future favours. That currying favour with anyone will help us in any way. Revenues especially.


So: the MxMIndia Mediaperson of the Year 2020 is an online presentation. It’s an accolade that’s for the truly well-deserving. And for the True Achiever of 2020 in the Indian Media, Advertising & Marketing arena.


With the backgrounders done, here’s how we went about our task.


We maintain an online notebook that records important developments of the year. It’s also a drill that ensures one can do recaps etc with ease.


For the Mediaperson of the Year, one reviews names, quarter-wise. This ensures the choice of the winner doesn’t suffer from the recency factor.


We looked at various names. We don’t miss the achievements of the various media biggies as they went on consolidating operations.


We had also asked our readers for their nominations, and we added these to arrive at a shortlist of five.


Ladies and Gentlemen, We have great pride in announcing that the 2019 MxMIndia Mediaperson of the Year Award is:


The Independent Journalist


So how did we arrive at our decision: 


If the year 2019 was horrible for the media, advertising and marketing ecosystem, 2020 was terrible. It could’ve almost wiped us out. Only the Burre Din happened, and they still have’t gone away.


The Covid-19-led pandemic has had a terrible impact on the state of the economy and hence the business of media. Profits are down, losses are up, work has reduced or has vanished and the bottomlines have been severely impacted.


We looked at every part of the sector and did think there were some high performers.


But we were looking at positive attributes so we couldn’t have selected Arnab Goswami, even though he achieved much success with Republic Bharat this year. We had Barkha Dutt doing a splendid show with her crisscross of the country, but that’s one expects from journalists of her calibre.


We also had Rajdeep Sardesai in our shortlist, for doing a consistently good job through the year. Neutral, unbiased journalism, asking the uncomfortable questions to all and doing well with the Covid-19 coverage since March. But that’s what one would expect from an editor like Sardesai.


In advertising and the rest of the media, there were a few bright sparks in the year, but no one truly deserving of this accolade.


The one category of media professional which truly deserve to receive accolades is the Independent Journalists. Journalists who have moved out of the big newspapers and channels and did some super work as independents – bloggers, small websites or using platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to post about things. There are some who aren’t professional journalists, but are doing better than full-time trained journalists.


We consulted our columnist, senior journalist and Consulting Editor Ranjona Banerji to share a few names of people she follows and her list matched ours. To name a few: Rema Nagarajan, Anoo Bhooyan, Vidya Krishnan, Suchitra Vijayan, Saahil Meghani and Saahil Murli Menghani. Then there are others like Polis Project, Live Law, Bar and Bench and Diet Sabya some of which may not be one-person operations, but they could be classified as Independents.


There have been independents in the past as well: The Wire, Scroll, then there is Alt News, Boomlive and various others not promoted by mainstream media entities but we named The Independent Journalist as the 2020 Mediaperson of the Year because of the nature of work done by the Independents this year.


Kudos to all the super-achiever independents. Truly deserving winners of the 2020 MxMIndia Mediaperson of the Year title.



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