Book Review: News Now – Being A TV Journalist

Title: News Now: Being A TV Journalist
Author: Sudesna Ghosh
Pages: 171
Price: Rs. 299

Growing up in the late 1990s, in a newly liberalized India, whenever they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d promptly respond, “A TV journalist.” Star News had just begun to engage the Indian audience and prime time was a word yet to enter our lexicon. My cousins would often tease me, “Have you met Ravina Raj Kohli and Barkha Dutt as yet?” For folks who are too young to recognize that first name, Ravina Raj Kohli is one of the pioneers of Indian television news. And Barkha Dutt was just creating a niche for herself.

Over the years, my idealism gave way to pragmatism, and soon I was reevaluating my career choices. I stumbled upon a chance marketing opportunity and shut the doors on my journalistic dream. But then I hadn’t read News Now: Being A TV Journalist by Sudesna Ghosh.

News Now offers a bird’s eye view of a news studio, from the writer’s to the editor’s desk. You get a peek into the lives of reporters, camerapersons and anchors. And Ghosh shares tips on conducting interviews smartly, reporting from conflict zones and managing a high-stress job with aplomb.

The ‘Contents’ page is a handy guide to help readers grasp the intricacies of each role. I particularly liked two sections at the end of each chapter: A Typical Workday and Quick Recap. Both reinforce the larger picture intended for that particular role.

The language is simple and engaging, and steers away from being preachy or didactic. Ghosh chooses her words carefully to explain the various roles and activities in the newsroom. She intersperses the theoretical bits with crisp anecdotes and real-life experiences of TV news veterans like Suhasini Haidar, Shireen Bhan, Bhupendra Chaubey, etc.

You also get to meet your TV idols in the last few pages of the book, where prominent news personalities share insights, words of advice and their experiences. While some of this information might already be there in the public domain, it is refreshing to read about their first big assignments and landmark stories first-hand. That for me was the highlight of News Now. And it drives home one point: Every individual in the news business started out small, and they’ve worked their way up, often in the face of adversity, setbacks and sometimes, danger. Some of the personal accounts also touch upon the benefits of a journalism degree vis-à-vis field experiences.

Apart from offering a glimpse into the heady world of news, News Now also serves as an excellent career guide for aspiring journalism students with information on the various routes into the newsroom. You will find sample CVs, a list of websites you can refer to and some tips to ease your first few days in the industry. There’s also a glossary of terms to help you get familiar with the newsroom lingo.

I was a little disappointed with the editing in a few instances, but there’s nothing that a good proofread can’t fix in the subsequent editions.

It is a timely and important read for individuals seeking a career in television news. I just wish this book had been written earlier!

News Now: Being A TV Journalist by Sudesna Ghosh releases 6 July 2016. Pre-order it on Amazon now.

Read What Would I Tell Her @ 13, Sudesna’s first book.

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