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FOX News and CNN can teach Ravish Kumar and Rajat Sharma a new TV language

Unlike Indian news channels, on Fox News and CNN, the anchors know their place in the debate — they remain silent when the panellists speak.

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Television news channels spent all of Wednesday whooping with joy at the Supreme Court handing over the Sushant Singh Rajput death case to the CBI, besides congratulating themselves for the stellar role they have played in obtaining this verdict.

It has been an award-winning performance by many of them — for nearly a month, they have conducted a media trial, openly chosen sides, maligned individuals, the Mumbai Police and Maharashtra government, and done everything in their power to achieve a CBI inquiry.

This direct interference in ‘let the law take its course’ is deeply troubling since their ‘victory’ will only embolden TV channels, and take them down a path that leads them further astray from the fundamental values of journalism. Equally worrying is the reality that these TV adalats clearly appeal to viewers.

Also read: Against the 1000 questions TV news had after Sushant Singh’s death, we have just six

Open debates, close arguments

Is there a way to wean audiences off the studio kangaroo trials and win back those who rejected TV news? Can we do something to engage with audiences without forsaking genuine journalism for jousting sessions?

Well, watching the coverage of the Democratic Convention on Fox News and CNN International did offer some simple alternatives. Here are six little ways in which we could begin to save TV news from itself.

Also read: Aatma, autopsy, jadu—After Ayodhya, TV news went right back to magnificent Sushant obsession

New energy

First, we need new energy: channels such as NDTV 24×7, India Today, or CNN News18, when they are not trying to play catch up with Times Now or Republic TV, look stuffy and stale, with a musty-fusty smell to them like old bread. We need anchors who are brimming with zest and enthusiasm.

That’s where Fox News scores. It appears bright, bustling, busy — its anchors look like they just emerged from a beauty salon. By the way, most of the female anchors are blonde and white, which doesn’t say much for diversity.

Also read: Ram Ram, Rafale. India’s TV news celebrated the arrival of French jets like a moon mission

A new language

Then, we need a new language: make it crisp, clever and crackling. While CNN chose to broadcast the daily convention proceedings live almost throughout, Fox News would break away to the studio for some incisive analysis of the “telethon”. There were smart lines, jokes and laughter: For instance, here are two of the channel’s best known commentators: “(Michele Obama) did a heck of a job — she diced and sliced up Donald Trump,’’ said Chris Wallace. “A boring hit on Trump launched from Biden’s basement bunker,’’ said Sean Hannity of the first night.

Fox was far more watchable than CNN which looked and sounded like it was attending a funeral — of the Trump administration, most likely. Very well intentioned and for many viewers, its heart is in the right place, but like ‘well-meaning’ anchors on our channels, they didn’t grab you — so much of the informed arguments simply droned on and on.

Sharp, witty comments, strong on facts work much better on TV – watch Wolf Blitzer on CNN question a guest. Take a leaf out of CNN’s Reliable Sources anchor Brian Stelter. He is feisty, direct and more bouncy than a ball, voices strong opinions, and never has more than three people on a panel at a time.

Also read: How Hindi serials plan to beat news channels in amateur dramatics in Covid days

Panels: keep them small

That’s the next thing and it’s a strict no-no: panels that number a soccer team along with the substitutes on debates that last for an hour. That’s the Republic TV, Times Now way – it’s plain dumb to stare at silent faces for so long.

Some channels feature four panellists, but even that may be too many. At any given time, two panellists with opposing views plus the anchor will do: India Today and CNN News18 favour that model. Also, restrict these face-offs to 10 minutes; then get another set of panelists, on another subject and do the same. This keeps things tight and viewer interest high with the variety.

Also read: Sachin Pilot has done the unthinkable — united all TV channels from NDTV to Republic

Do not interrupt

Another requirement: the anchor does not interrupt, and does not allow the panellists to interrupt each other either. On our news channels, the anchor does both, in fact, encourages them. And no abusing either – absolutely not. On Fox News and CNN, the anchors know their place in the debate — they remain silent when the panellists speak. Laura Ingraham caught herself editorialising and stopped: “I am acting like a guest on my own show,” she apologised (Fox News). Have you ever heard our anchors say such a thing?

Also read: Bhujiya, bicycle, bathroom: TV news scripts potboiler story of Vikas Dubey before UP Police

Banish monologues

Time to get rid of the long-winded instruments too: banish the wordy monologues to the basement. The likes of Ravish Kumar (NDTV India), Sudhir Chaudhary (Zee News) and Rajat Sharma (India TV) lecture us – that’s not TV, and it’s very poor TV on a daily basis. Ravish has often scored because he is so good at it, but they must all learn from Fareed Zakaria whose GPS is a solitary take but it’s only once a week.

Anchors beware: keep your opinion to a bare minimum and don’t have strong biases—there’s enough of that already. Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, co-anchors of the Fox convention show, make a quick observation and then rotate the strike to panelists such as Chris Wallace, Brit Hume, Dana Perino or Juan Williams — and the latter speak for no longer than a few minutes, if that.

Also read: Delighted over ban on Chinese apps, news channels put Modi speech on back burner

Need ‘aatmanirbhar’ anchors

Oh, and one more out-of-the-box, quirky idea that may appeal to viewers. This is the season of vocal for local. So where is the aatmanirbhar on our news channels? The male anchors emulate their foreign counterparts wearing jackets and ties or they appear in shirtsleeves; the females, barring a few, wear jackets too. Huh? Why can’t they be like Deepak Chaurasia and wear bandh galas, or kurtas? Saris? At least they would brighten up the proceedings.

So there we go: a few modest ways towards reclaiming TV news. And dare we add, pursue real news, not mock trials?

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  1. While we have a lot to learn from foreign news channels in general(like not interrupting a speaker during a debate)….I still think that emulating fox or cnn isn’t going to do us any good. Their kind of sensationalism, while different from the republic tv variety, is sensationalism nonetheless…..and while it will make them more money, it’ll be bad for us as viewers and consumers, because they will pay more attention to presentation instead of the facts themselves, and I believe that objectivity should be at the center of the journalistic spirit……..I do not agree with the writer.

  2. This is a click bait . You are comparing ravish kumar with fox news and cnn really ?? I don’t know who has written this article but I think you have misunderstood news with entertainment.

  3. I was just reading some comment on this article , some people are very anguished by this article but this is real journalism. If u r fan of ravish Kumar and u can’t hear one word against him then their is no difference between u and bhakts . If u don’t like this article it’s ok but, u can’t denied some of it’s good things. So be patient and try to be a different(if u r) from Bhakts .

  4. I dont think you watch either cnn or fox. CNN has been anti trump for 5 years in a row and fox pro trump for the same duration. Every journalist is biased on both platforms. No doubt that indian media is more tamasha than them but I am quite sure that those two channels can never be quoted as examples to emulate. I think you should watch ravish Kumar for his wonderful grasp of hindi and his syntax if nothing else. He appeals to the artist.
    The sad thing is that the channels are dissipating what we want to hear not what we should hear. That is why it is news entertainment now. But in a world where history channel became an entertainment channel for trps it is just expecting too much.

  5. @ Print. If you call this good journalism then you just lost my support and my contribution.

    I know everyone is entitled to their opinion but this is promoting idiocracy in the name of … What do you call this ? Opinion? Journalism ? Or brazen Bigotry ?

    I had expected better !

  6. I have never seen a manager or salesman of a well reputed diamond or gold store shouting…… diamond lelo……..angoothi lelo…… bracelet lelo… suited example of Ravish Kumar or Rajat Sharma
    The so called journalists like Arnab or Amish are like road side chapdi farosh ….always shouting……

  7. This is not media trial madam. Media trial is something when the issue is sub-judice, and is awaiting judgement

    Be it Republic TV or Times Now or CNNNews18, they did focus on pointing the flaws during investigation, so they investigating agencies get back on track, all beyond potential influences from Bollywood, Politicians and higher officials in administration

    The effort these channels and corresponding anchors kept the topic in people minds, finally led to CBI, ED inquiry led by supreme court in the course of events that happened in last 56+ days

    Hope wisdom prevail and every party does their job appropriately

  8. Dear Print, I was watching your turn. The only journelist you have is Shahaz Ansari. Your try to be neutral, it’s okay. Good. But don’t publish bullshit like this. Tell this author to less watch Arnab, more Ravish. His journalism will take a new shape. How can you compare Ravish with other paid Godi media dogs. Either your conscience is under critical stage or you are Arnab fan. I follow Print, contribute also. But it is over now. I know what to follow. Don’t bias like you. Full rubbish article.

  9. You should understand the difference between style and class first. Before publish in article calling out “new style” journalism. NEWS BY NO MEANS SHOULD BE ENTERTAINMENT. For that we have Big-boss, rodies , nagin etc.

  10. The anchors made me see the news channels with disdain. They are too eager to speak when someone they interview is on the verge of prnouncing some interesting detail; they cut him short with their own inane utterances. This uniformly applies to Ravish, Rajdip, Arnav – each one of them.

  11. As Mr Varun and even most of them said , that we cannot compare Ravish kumar with anyone Infact it’s true he s the only one the best journerlist. He s sincere .He s aware of what he speaks . He is the best

    • You seem to be nuts like RK. He has different yardstick everyday. To be precise, he named Hindus when a crowd of them killed Pilukhan. He identified very clearly and advised their parents for their future carrier too.
      But after Bangalore riots he proclaimed that rioters have no religion. Just let me know what you say.

  12. The print is living in a fool’s World, it clearly shows & smells of godi-dallal media house. They need to wake up & see the reality , be it the plight of our migrant workers since lockdown, or the new nonsonse education system or the unemployment crisis in the country, the government sponsored communial divide only NDTV has the guts & bolls to ask the democratic elected government these questions. Not like the rest of the channel’s playing to the tune set by the government. So keep your bias & government sponsored argument & views to yourself. In this godi-dallal corrupt bias media’s dark tunnel only NDTV & ravish Kumar are a bright light of hope.

  13. NDTV does not budge under any pressure while reporting facts You must be out of senses to target a well learned reporter like Ravish Kumar.

  14. I don’t think you watch ravish kumar show on ndtv. He do two shows ‘desh ki baat’ and ‘primetime’.

    He give more importance to ground report on both of his program.which is seriously matching in other news channel. You should watch his speech on why news channel are shifting from ground reporting to studio debate. I guess you might already know why this trend is happening.

    Even ravish use to conduct debate you can watch it on YouTube. But BJP started boycotting him so he cannot just bring congress or other party spokesperson , and only represent their view. So he himself do not conduct debate shows. Instead he brings expert to his show which is far better than debate (of course it would be better if experts debate on his show).

    He has taken interview of both Rahul Gandhi and Hemant Soren. You should watch it and compare it with interview of any channel who had take interview of BJP leader. You can see the difference yourself.

    So I don’t think ravish Kumar and Zee media and india tv anchors fall in the same category. I don’t think you are regular viewer of ravish kumar. Don’t draw conclusion on just one or two episode. Atleast watch his episode consistency for few weeks and then you can draw conclusion for yourself.

  15. All we need as a viewer is information from news channels about what our government does on certain issues. So i believe that if someone like Ravish Kumar gives lectures i will accept it. If some one is biased and just praising just a political party not party but just a single person and forgets all the current issues of the country, how much he has the sense of journalism I don’t care about it….

  16. The author wants that commedian s should occupy the anchors chair in Indian context they have allready exchanged their roles Can’t she see Arnab doing comedy in. the studio and Kunal kamara doing journalism.

  17. No mention of Arnab?
    Or is he not a journalist?
    With this article The Print has fallen a few notches in my eyes….

  18. This article seems more like advertisement of cnn and fox news. If other channels are not showing journalism ethos, why shouldn’t we avoid tv journalism altogether and go back to print media . That would be a good idea. No flickering of screen, no debates. .

  19. Exactly print….the issue is not corporate advertisements or political alliances….its the lack of kurtas and sarees… how could i not know. You know this is part of the problem, if you really feel journalism needs to revive all journalist platforms need to go ad free on subscription basis. And also atleast ravish kumar has the decency to let the other person talk.

  20. This article is a testament to :
    1. The print being a proud partner of Godi Media
    2. The inherent fear that true journalism can incite in Godi Media
    3. The time tested strategy of Godi Media of discrediting any opposition, often falsely, in an attempt to avoid factual reporting and focus on Godi chant.

  21. While I agree with some of the advices and notions like, monologues in news, atmnirbhar journalist, keeping panels small and don’t interrupt, I fear the article is out of balance. First, viewers need to understand that it’s news and journalism. Let’s not include in stupid and stale tactics to increase viewership. If news channels try to cover more widen news rather than very specific agendas, viwever will be happy to see those. Like why these is so less coverage of ne issues, general public issues. Another catchy and responsible thing media houses can do is sting operations. Retrospection is important part of journalism. Why we are forgetting this. Secondly, no I disagree with u need catchy phrases, new “energies”. What new energy? Well Arnab tries as a gumball of energy, but it’s loud, noice. Lastly, most important job of a journalist is to be highly highly critical of govt. I never ever seen any criticism except by Ravish, who I say is farmost the most atmnirbhar journalist. He gave news in bhojpuri on matrabhasha diwas. He tries to cover topic like floods, research fellowships, doctors, patholes, roads etc. Which are ralavent. He criticised current governing party and the last governing party. Other news channels especially Republic TV are interested in India Pakistan. Interestingly, most of the debates on Sushant Singh Rajput case we’re conducted on Republic TV. As a viewer, when I come home tired, I am not interested in war cries, high “energy” shouts and abuses, but genuine news and will be happy to see that at least my issue (even a small one like roads) is covered in news. So, ndtv will always seems stale as compared to Republic TV, coz it’s news not TV dramas.

  22. Lodu, print, don’t say anything about ravish sir, he is the lone wolf against all the hyenas. Have some sense assh0les..

  23. Your View Is Just Biased As Like All The Channels – Come On Comparing Rajat And Sudhir With Ravish – You Gotta Have Some Knowledge On His Work In Field Of Journalism – He Is The Only One And Only NDTV And DD National Are Showing True Journalism – Others Are Just Moving Their Tales For TRP – Other Channels And Their Representatives Don’t Give A Damn About Us The People And The Students !

  24. Extremely rubbish article!

    How can someone be insensible and so naively stupid to even write this!

    And next thing mixing up the names of Good Media houses like NDTV and Respected Journalist like Ravish kumar with Fake news channels and Propaganda anchors is seriously I will never ever read of follow Print henceforth this is all because of Shailaja Bajpai, this is shameful!

  25. NDTV has been raising issues concerned right from its inception. No other channel can match with NDTV. All the anchors @ndtv are intelligent & decent. And Ravish kumar is best Indian television journalist. His sincerety & presentations are always praiseworthy. Mr Shekhar Gupta, please don’t allow Print to be laughable.

  26. Your views on Ravish that he is not an anchor and he just keeps lecturing on prime time is absolutely wrong, I think… That’s because I regularly watch him and he does not waste viewers time by repeating same sentences, there is no music on his show, he keeps himself simple, talks to the points, and never does bhakti of politicians, never shows fake news, does not pronote any political parties, infact he bursts fake news… I belive that he is the best of just a few dedicated journalists.. He is a role model for many of us… And I think many people r there who admire his work.. Hats off to him…

  27. Your views on Ravish that he is nat an anchor and he just keeps lecturing on prime time is absolutely wrong, I think… That’s because I regularly watch him and he does not waste viewers time by repeating same sentences, there is no music on his show, he keeps himself simple, talks to the points, and never does bhakti of politicians, never shows fake news, does not pronote any political parties, infact he bursts fake news… I belive that he is the best of just a few dedicated journalists.. He is a role model for many of us… And I think many people r there who admire his work.. Hats off to him…

  28. In what capacity you have commented and compared Ravish with others. ThePrint i never expected you to publish this. I read you coz i felt you are worth plz dont lose that by doing this.

  29. Hi the print stop publishing this kind of rubbishes in the name.of.personal.opinion and this is not the first time u guys are doing it .u need to take a stand.not be like I liberal outlet but will.not. openly criticize right.wing.groups

  30. Total rubbish article in favour of Govt. Tell other anchors to learn from Ravish Kumar. He’s the only perfect journalist left in our country.
    Others like Sudhir Chaudhary and Arnab are just Loud speakers.

  31. Another article in the favour of government, sometimes I laugh like how little their world is that it revolves just around the government’s achievements, though there ain’t any so they makeup things. And critizising news channels and reporters who are taking initiative to to ask questions to the government and do ground reporting instead of organizing debates ,which in the end doesn’t make any sense. Calling people on debates and yelling at them is not what you call a reporting. News channels like NDTV, India today are actually some worthy news channels which does an actual work of delivering news to the audience unlike Republic TV and zee news. Damn our fourth pillar of democracy is perishing and soon there will not be any independent media that will be the day we are all doomed !!
    Well its necessary for us to watch all news channels (not really all but most of them) and not sticking to one this way we can judge wether we actually want entertainment (Arnab and all ) or some actual news (which I think is more important).

  32. What makes sense in this article is that our anchors need to shut up and listen more. What is utter nonsense in this article 1) NOT mentioning Arnab Goswami’s name as the joker in the pack who is lampooned even in foreign media in their comedy shows. 2)Mentioning Magasaysay award winner Ravish in the same breath as the other paid stooges. 3) Media should be unbiased? What a joke – doesn’t the authour who is quoting Fox and CNN not know that they have very clear biases? And talking of biases, I can bet my last dollar that this writer is a bhakt rooting for a Trump win

    • I absolutely agree with your response. Well articulated; saved me the effort of typing it up myself.

  33. The most important reform for TV News channels is not mentioned. That is, constantly flicking TV screens. It is always “fast and furious” on TV screens and you are hardly able to read anything that is constantly flicking or moving so fast. In fact, the V screen is so filled up that the anchor or “real news” only occupy only 10-15 % of the TV screen space available. Why these people do not look at neighbouring channels like CNN, BBC, CNA to learn, how to keep TV screens clean. I personally prefer to see CNA only because of clean screen and very narrow running news strip at the bottom, moving at a reasonably slow speed.

  34. Every thing about this article is so cringe worthy. Look energetic like whom ? Arnab Goswami. Look straight out a salon ? I didn’t know news tv were now Jimmy Fallon late night shows.
    And where do you think is this enduring tolerant behaviour hidden in Indian news spectator to digest jokes even if sarcastic and non referential towards either their beloved party or candidate.
    And has the author ever heard of Ravish’s monologue. It’s hint of sarcasm, it’s crispness to define a situation, it’s take at the faulty institutions is simply outstanding.

    I rarely care to comment, but this has shook me to the core. If you don’t have substantial material, please don’t publish anything. That’d be still better than spoiling Print’s repute.

  35. We love Ravish’s musty-fusty love stale bread smell and I don’t think you can compare Ravish with Rajat in any manner whatsoever. As for direct from saloon Anchors, glitter does not mean gold. You are not discussing the content but presentation and distortion, lies, cover-ups can never replace true content howsoever good looking, smart phrasing anchors may be.

  36. Wow… Biased article… unfortunately powerful people were not able to buy them.. Maximum and well known media houses are run by government.. What you have written wrong about specific channels… Because they show the true news.. Rest are fake and tabloid… Again Arnab Goswami knows only how to shout and not debate

  37. Dear sir and Madam,
    I am a student and I have been reading your column often many times and I am lucky that I am able to read and understand your English column.Since your content is full of knowledge and intellectualism and it should reach more no. of readers.So please translate it into some local language such as hindi,marathi etc.

  38. Fox news is quite similar to Republic TV. Its all paid news. The content is bogus and even credibility of the news should be questioned rather than all the glitters. Please check your facts. Thank you for the article anyway.

  39. The author seems to have taken cue from mensxp, scoopwhoop kind of entertainment portals to give advice to tv news anchors. While Many times the editor Shekhar Gupta of the print – takes more airtime than the “expert” panellist in his youtube shows, he can try these tips.

  40. I am not a news analyst but I think news channels in India are having the same flavor and have nothing to learn from US channels. Fox seem to be pushing the right wing agenda and openly being racist in many instances, bullying people whenever required and CNN just playing the good guy act..the same act every time.

  41. गोदी midea needs learn journalism, they spread facsism, only Ravish kumar and news 24 are trying to protect indian🇮🇳👳 democracy

  42. Elitist view quickly acting to restore the “freedom of speech” to privileged few like “The Print” and left mafia so they can spin the stories that they want to and pedal the narrative that they like. We Indians now roaringly laugh at the statement “Let the law takes its own course” because that means inaction and close /shut the case to favor the powerful and privileged. Especially with technology democratizing (not the state) through social media every person on the street is a reporter like it or not. You can do this cry baby thing all you want but this is new India and new world with technology and people powering it. That is the reason why some news anchor have become bold to take on the establishment power and their sons abusing laws all across the country. Obviously the elites are not liking it since their exclusive domain is now being encroached by measly low life citizens. How dare you do that?

  43. for any discussion to be interesting , we must not only have experts but also fresh faces. we are seeing the same faces in all the channels for years. one look at them and the topic we will know what they are going to say. i am naming few of the so called expert panelists only as an example – p.r.vyankatesh, anand ranganathan, sanjay hegde, ajay shukla etc etc . the moment we see them we will know what they are going to say. rarely we have interesting faces like aryaman sundaram and ujjwal nikam

  44. Good points made Shailaja ji but as usual my question is – who is going to do whatever you have suggested and where is the platform for showcasing this kind of change? In the US, people support both sides of the political spectrum in equal measure because they are a true democracy, brought up on democratic values. We in India don’t care for objectivity, fairness, context or neutrality anymore in our newsrooms. Opposition bashing is the only criteria for TV news right now and some anchors have gotten fabulously rich by peddling their version of the “news.” But they also cannot be solely blamed because that is what the paying public consumes. So like our bollywood movies, our news standards too have gone to the gutter with passing years. As we watch paisa vasool movies made by our “superstar actors” to forget our daily woes, similarly we watch these wealthy news “performers” to forget that govt mismanagement and Covid together have made our once booming economy supine.

  45. In a country where the per capita opinion is so high and fluid, the debates and discussions will be different.
    Is is difficult / impossible to stop quoting and comparing with the events and individuals of the western world as if we have no no historical events or wise men to learn from? Or is is just a way to impress others to show how well read one is in english?
    There is no independent / unbiased media, everyone has a tilt, but accepting it publicly closes the chances of a shift at a future date. So the hippocracy of claiming to be unbiased.
    Channels such as NDTV 24×7, India Today, or CNN News 18 have made their money and MORE.
    Without aggressive Media trails at least half a dozen cases would just have been forgotten. Let us not grudge the channels who have been good at it.
    That would be independent / unbiased commentry.

  46. Shailaja Bajpai gives out her deep rooted hatred for those channels who dare to speak against the congress in particular. And that is also the reason she says that Ravish Kumar scores on monologues. Anyone who has heard Ravish Kumar knows that he openly expresses his own hatred against Modi, Hindus, RSS while keeping the news part to a minimum. So she wants more like Ravish Kumar on TV. Also it doesnt help when journos like Bajpai who have been used to cosying up to the establishment for ao many years are out of job now and are finding it frustrating that channels like Republic, Timesnow and India TV are exposing the culprits in the Sushant Singh case and they belong to parties opposing the BJP. This is the real grouse. But for Arnab Goswami who took on the high and mighty in Maharashtra this case would not have gone to the CBI. Perhaps honesty and integrity are not the words which the likes of Bajpai have ever learnt. The channels whom Bajpai is accusing are practicing honest journalism. Perhaps they dont fit into the Shekhar Gupta, Bajpai, Barkha, Baweja, N Ram, etc school of journalism.

  47. The most useless piece of advice! The author suggests that good looking anchors and saris would make good news? Exactly what is wrong with TV news will be amplified multiple times!

  48. I have stopped watching these TV channels long time ago. I used to wonder when watching CNN and other international channels and they do not interupt. THis article is showing just that.

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