Submitted by admin on Wed, 04/26/2017 - 15:14

CNN-News18 has launched two new primetime shows – ‘FaceOff At 9’ at 9.00 pm and Viewpoint at 10.00 pm anchored by Deputy Executive Editor Zakka Jacob and Executive Editor Bhupendra Chaubey respectively. Radhakrishnan Nair, Managing Editor, CNN-News18 talks to us about the move.

On the shows: The 9.00-11.00pm slot is considered debate time in news channels but all you get is noise. Debate is informed people with different views talking about a particular subject but in certain anchor-driven channels, the anchor decides the line of the story and guests follow that line with people talking over each other. We decided to change that and have introduced a buzzer wherein a guest is not interrupted in the time they get to speak. The guest has to end the conversation when the buzzer rings, when others can interject and everyone’s viewpoint is heard. At the end of the debate, we announce the best debater of the day based on a live Twitter poll. We are trying to improve the quality of our guests and are looking at getting newer, younger and articulate guests as an effort to attract younger people to the channel. Around 80% of debates are political and we are consciously looking to address topics and issues that matter to people. Many channels invest only in one anchor with reporters becoming irrelevant. We have a great reporting team and want to focus on the skills of debating plus the strength of our reporting in both the shows. In the next two weeks, we are also planning to re-launch the 7.00pm -9.00 pm slot with new shows at 7.00 pm, 8.00 pm and 8.30 pm.

On strengthening research teams: We are hiring senior journalists for research and fact-check of stories and to provide quality researched questions to anchors and reporters. If a politician is making a claim, we will do a fact check and tell the people whether the politician is saying the right thing or he is just making a claim which is not substantiated. That is work in progress, but we have started moving in that direction.

On digital interactivity: We have a huge digital presence in So if the debate is interesting, we could extend the debate on Facebook and the anchor could chat with viewers during breaks. We have not really cracked how to do this, but we will make every effort and use every opportunity to interact with viewers.

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