I was shivering while interviewing Nirbhaya's friend, says Ramnath Goenka awardee Sudhir Chaudhary
Zee News, one of the most-watched news channels in India, was once again recognised for its exemplary journalism as its Editor Sudhir Chaudhary bagged the prestigious Ramnath Goenka Award for Best Hindi Journalism on Monday.
Prashant V Singh spoke to Sudhir Chaudhary about his journey in journalism, feelings after bagging the prestigious award and many other aspects on his journalistic experience. Here's the interview:-
Q - What is your first reaction?
Sudhir Chaudhary: It feels great to be honoured for your work, especially when you see your work is contributing to the society in a positive manner.
Q - What is it about Zee News that makes it stand apart from others in the broadcast field?
Sudhir Chaudhary: We take a stand, that's the biggest difference. We don't beat around the bush. For us at Zee News, nation comes first. Nationalism is an integral part of our reporting. We always try to report stories which can leave an impact, especially on the youth, children and contribute towards nation building.
Q - 'DNA' remains one of the most-watched prime time news shows, how has been the journey?
Sudhir Chaudhary: Initially, when I planned to start 'DNA', people warned me that in this age of 'masala journalism', this kind of show will not work. But, I took the risk as I wanted to educate and inform people through my show. I wanted to convey 5Ws and 1H of the story to my audience so that they can also learn and contribute and make a difference.
Besides, 'DNA' is the only family news show because of its informative and clean format.
Also, earlier, the news show genre was dominated by males, which is not the truth anymore. Thanks to 'DNA'.
Q - How do you see the rise of social media and digital journalism, is the tide turning against the broadcast media?
Sudhir Chaudhary: I would say the rise is phenomenal. Nowadays, stories break on social media and internet not TV. It's fast, vibrant but at the same time its biggest drawback is - at times, the stories on internet are not testified
and thus lack authenticity. I think, we should put more filters for the online stories. Laxman Rekha, you know.
Q - On the big story that you did - the interview related with Nirbhaya incident - please recount your impressions - particularly as the episode was horrific and had rattled the nation.
Sudhir Chaudhary: It was a very traumatic experience. Initially, Nirbhaya's friend - the only eyewitness to the heinous crime - declined to give the interview but later when he saw some wrong reports being published in various newspapers, he agreed to appear on the show. It was very tough to convince him. I wanted to show the truth to the entire world in the form of what happened on that night but at the same time I didn't want to hurt his sentiments as he was in a deep state of shock.
I still remember, I was shivering while interviewing him as he broke down many a times during the interview. We had to counsel him a number of times during the recording of the show. But, I was very happy when as the outcome
of interview, people were compelled to think about the incident and women's safety in India.
A lot of channels in India and abroad ran stories based on my interview.
Q - Any funny or interesting experience that you wish to share from your many years in journalism?
Sudhir Chaudhary: You feel lucky when you witness history being written in front of you. Somehow or somewhere you also become a part of it. One such incident was the 2001 Parliament attack. I saw terrorists running in front of
me, killing people. I was reporting the incident from Parliament; I could have died.
Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards are one of India’s biggest and most prestigious awards. These awards recognise print and broadcast journalists, who do stories that create a far-reaching impact. Started in 2006 to honour the late Ramnath Goenka, freedom fighter and founder of The Indian Express Group, these awards acknowledge accuracy, courage, credibility and fairness in journalism, and honour the best and the brightest in Indian media every year.