TNM Exclusive: Barkha Dutt: 'Needed to re-invent, stasis is death of creativity'
Flix Monday, March 02, 2015 - 05:30
Dhanya Rajendran| The News Minute| February 17, 2015| 12.10 pm IST Journalist Barkha Dutt has stepped down from her position as Group Editor in NDTV after almost two decades of working with the news channel and is going to step up her own multi media company and policy group. In an email, co-founders of the group Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy informed employees that Dutt would be starting her own company. She will however, continue to host and anchor her shows on NDTV, and also present and analyze big news stories. In her first interview after stepping down as Group Editor of NDTV, Barkha Dutt speaks about her plans: How does it feel to have your ties with NDTV changed and become a consulting editor with the group?Â Well of course it is a big, big change in some ways and yet in my television life, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t expect anything to change at all. I will still continue to do my prime time shows and ground reportage that I love more than anything else. But yes, breaking the umbilical cord, stepping out of a 20 year old comfort zone and trying to start several new ventures is both scary and exciting. Basically, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve just added many more hours to my work day. How did this decision come about? Is there any reason that this decision has been made at this juncture and not at some time in the past? I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t say there was any particular trigger for this other than a deeply felt need within me to re-invent and grow in new areas. I do believe that stasis is the death of creativity and when you get too comfortable you should shake things up for your own sake. And while I am a child of news (my mum was a trailblazing journalist) and belong to the first generation of TV journalists in India I have other interests - in the print, digital and public policy space - that I am keen to explore. Hence this decision to keep one foot firmly in TV and take the other out for a brand new adventure.Â Could you talk about the multi-media company you are setting up? Who else is on the team with you? It's very early days yet. I was waiting to complete the formalities of my new role at NDTV before moving forward specifically. What I can share with you is the following. As we know in a world of hyper information, content is key. My company will provide content across different platforms. It already has a TV contract with NDTV. Additionally, we will be entering the digital space, with a niche, cause-driven portal. We will also expand presence in the print space, in which I currently do a fortnightly column.Â Apart from the multi-media content company, me & a group of friends from different fields are coming together to create an "ideas collective"- think of this as a sort of brains trust that brings together accomplished people from different fields. The ideas collective will curate an annual ideas festival, called 'If...' (ideas for the future) which will bring together a diverse and eclectic group of speakers and be futuristic in character, playing on the what 'If.' - questions that confront politics, society, science and the arts. Eventually we hope to grow into a multi-disciplinary public policy centre.Â Will Barkha Dutt the journalist like Barkha Dutt the entrepreneur? Do you believe the transition will be smooth? That's a great question and the honest answer is I have no idea. This is brand new for me. I have always been a creative, content person and this is a brand new role for me. But IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m confident that we can create something substantive and meaningful in addition to TV that will continue to be a staple. I also think that we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fully comprehend how fast things around us are changing. Even the voter has become a consumer of content, hence politics that isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t smart in its messaging, that doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t tell a good story, fails. In media too, I believe re-invention is the need of the hour. Especially when it comes to the digital play, we have to find new ways of telling stories, we have to break from the formulaic that we have become so accustomed to. I hope to explore some of these shifts in the way we tell stories. Read-Â Barkha Dutt to start multi-media company and policy group, to be Consulting Editor at NDTV Tweet Follow @thenewsminute