First of all, Times Now is no longer a one-show pony. It has a diversified prime time with anchors having a distinct style. We replaced the loss of a celebrity anchor with good content. Earlier, there was a lot of rhetoric and reporters, in a different time before me, had to fit their reports to suit what the editor’s narrative was going to be in the evening. We changed that. Today, Times Now is a reporter and story-driven channel. The most significant change I have been able to bring in is the democratization of opinion.
Q] Are you saying Times Now has gone from dictatorship to democracy in the past two years under your leadership?
I don’t like to use strong words, but if you look at the commentary that appeared in the Press on Times Now earlier, the sense one got was that there was one primogenitor who had a complete say on what was going on-air. Back then, the attrition rate in Times Now was high, because people didn’t feel included. Someone poured whatever they had to into you and said, ‘Now go ahead and pour it into another vessel sitting next to you.’ Today, we have managed to have a democratization of opinion.
Q] When you took over as editor-in-chief, why didn’t you pick the more coveted 9’o’clock slot?
I am an editor, not an entertainer, and I am most certainly not the Jerry Springer of news TV. I am a thinking person. Anchoring Newshour would have unnecessarily forced people into saying, “Oh, ‘x’ was like this and ‘y’ is like that.” I have my own identity. I don’t want to be compared to anyone else. Therefore, I came in at 8 pm with a completely different approach. Also, I was very uncomfortable doing a show, the legacy of which was rhetoric-based. So, at 8 o’clock when I get in, I do a show which is based on hard facts, not on rhetoric.
Q] Some of the reporters I spoke to at Times Now said that there is not much co-ordination between you and Navika and it becomes difficult to report to two different schools of thought…
What you heard is ‘water cooler gupshup’ - people want to look for binaries everywhere. We have a very well laid out structure. Navika and I complement each other very well; she gets the raw ingredients while I sit and cook them. So, this binary is just mischievous.