‘Journalists Who Seek Popularity Is Death of Journalism’: Barkha Dutt

Senior Journalist, Barkha Dutt delivers key note speech at Talk Journalism 2018.

Jaipur, 12 August 2018— The third and final day of Talk Journalism 2018 saw the ballroom graced by Barkha Dutt, Senior Television Journalist.        She was here to give the Key Note address

Barkha Dutt began by saying that many young journalists who approached her for jobs wanted to become anchors, who want to sit in a studio and host a show. She quipped that,“I am still waiting for the day when someone walks in and says that I want to be a reporter. Because in my mind an anchor is living off what a reporter does. An anchor sits with make-up and good clothes in an air-conditioned studio. I am telling you here that I had many designations in my life – Group Editor, Editor, Anchor – but what I am proudest of is of a reporter. Because in the end, what will people remember you for? They won’t remember you for so and so bulletin, so and so show had a fight. They will remember you for your body of work.” She said that if you want to be a journalist, you need to be a reporter as Journalism is reporting.

Barkha Dutt further went on to speak about a dangerous trend which is in media these days. She first highlighted about the good things social media did for news but at the same time said that it has made journalists crave for popularity and they have started saying things which would make them more
likeable. She added, “Journalists who seek popularity is death of journalism. Also, they have started to modify their point of view so as to avoid trolling and dislikedness and this is actually advertising”.
Barkha Dutt praised Pratik Sinha, Founder, Alt News for busting fake news by saying that “He is doing a
fantastic job and he is doing what the journalists should do by doing a fact check of the facts.” At the same time she was saddened by the fact that fact-checking is being outsourced.

Barkha Dutt went on to share her experiences from being a victim of fake news, to how she fought with her editors to cover Kargil War in 1999 for interviewing Vikram Batra with a human side of the story and how her mother Prabha Dutt became India’s first woman war correspondent. She addressed students, “They need to have an urge in the stomach to cover a story, that they should think if story would become a do-or-die situation in their career and if they don’t have an urge, then they are made for something else.”

She concluded by saying “If you are making someone uncomfortable, including yourself with what you are
doing, then don’t be in journalism. You need to have a romance with journalism so that when you look
back, you can be proud of the stories done by you.”

Text:  Niharika Raina | Copy edit: Vaidehi Gangan | Photo: Niharika Raina | Photo desk: Anu Sonia A |Editorial coordination: Jyoti Mamnani

The report was filed during live newsroom workshop conducted by Institute of Integrated Digital journalism and Mass Communication(IIDJM)