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For The Sake of News: Satish K Singh, Editor, Zee News

Zee News launched a pan India campaign “For the sake of News” last month with the objective of providing corporate world a peep into the realm of Hindi news genre. In today’s scenario, hype and triviality are presented in the garb of news. With just 2.4% of non-news content during prime-time, Zee News claims to be aware of its responsibility as the fourth estate and understands the importance and credibility of serious news content. It has initiated an year long campaign to open a debate about ‘News that is’ and ‘News that should be’, in the hope that its efforts will improve the state of news content in today’s times and lead to the dissemination of newsworthy content that will help to empower citizens to work for the development of the nation. tries to read the Zee News Editor’s mind that drives the channel with pure news content. Read the full excerpts:

Q) How do you define the serious news on a serious note?

When we talk about news, we talk about news which has impact or relevance. And since the primary duty of the news channel is to give news in depth, not the touch and go types. Short form of the news is called updates and that is the matter for tickers running continuously, bottom of the TV screen. I even don’t believe in the news capsules containing 20 news in 5 minutes. Our intention remains pretty clear that we will serve our audiences with every possible aspect of the developments in an authentic manner. Our focus on content is evident from the fact that we show only 2.5% non-news content during primetime, hence we remain on the top position during the primetime. I must add that we should be in the business of creating better citizen if we want better viewer.

Q) Today, we say Hindi news channels are busy hunting ghosts but as far as I remember Zee News was the first Hindi news channel to start this whole genre with Kaal, Kaapal- Maahakal?

We have corrected that past. Reporting on religion and beliefs could be relevant if done in a rational way. It was a temporary experiment with the genre which ended soon. Now, people have started, what we junked.

Q) Today, more or less, every Hindi news channel is running the same content. How would you differentiate your content?

We do not only keep ourselves away from non-news content but we are against the quick news format in small news capsules. I’d reiterate that we focus on giving in-depth relevant and meaningful news.

Q) The fight for TRP is intense and due to that the content on Hindi news channels is getting poor. How difficult is it to maintain the credibility?

Maintaining the credibility is a tough task and we have been successful by avoiding a few things and sticking to the principles of fair journalism. If you keep yourself clean in a cluttered environment, people notice you and they trust you.

Q) What if you get a fair competition in case all the channels start focusing on news?

We always believe in competing with ourselves. With every passing news, we improve our coverage. We don’t look at the other channels at all. In today’s scenario, they take people for granted because they are not well equipped to be called serious 24-hr news channel.

Q) Running comedy shows a clip is easy as compared to doing analytic news feature. Do you think one of the major reasons why channels trace ghosts and run comedy clips is because they don't want to invest their intellectual capital and are happy with easy TRPs?

Rightly said! The field reporting is disappearing day by day. Reporters are suffering due to the channels’ changing policies. If they are not investing in their intellectual capital that means they do not have that at the top.

Q) How much role does Marketing team play in driving the direction of the channel’s content?

This is not the case here in Zee News. Our marketing colleagues are very co-operative and full of ideas. We suggest each other rather than influencing each other.

Q) But isn’t it a main reason behind the dilution of the news content?

It may be the case at other places where content must be planned on the basis of TRPs.

Q) Is there any plan to revamp the look and feel of the channel also? What is the roadmap ahead?

We are already in the process of revitalizing ourselves and you will see the changes very soon.

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Comments (1)
  • Ramesh- 9 years ago

    Hi Satish, Don't burst on that pure Anna Team member.. One day the same politicians will pass a bill that you are eligible to eat only once in a day so are you going to accept it as because you have till now accepted all the bills passed by the government ???? Kindly answer....