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  • “At the heart of it all, I am a storyteller”: Barkha Dutt at the Elite Speaker series of Vista 2022 at IIMB

    Published on August 8, 2022

    The Founding-Director of Mojo Story was in conversation with Prof. Prateek Raj, faculty in the Strategy area at IIMB, on ‘Evolution of Journalism in the Indian Context’

    One of the 10 most followed journalists in the world and an early adopter of social media, Barkha Dutt says her sense curiosity keeps her going as a journalist. “Never think of yourself of too old, too big or too arrogant to learn new things. I do not want to follow the curve; I try and stay ahead of it. So, I must find the characters to tell my human stories; not just reel out statistics. I must keep the sanctity of my story. That is where my skill, my training and my craft and my experience come to the fore.”

    The Founding-Director of Mojo Story was in conversation with Prof. Prateek Raj, faculty in the Strategy area at IIMB, on the ‘Evolution of Journalism in the Indian Context’, at the Elite Speaker Series of Vista 2022 – the business summit hosted by the two-year MBA students of IIMB, today.

    “I love your beautiful campus and I hate long lectures, so let’s have a freewheeling chat on changes in the way people engage with current affairs content – from legacy media to new media,” she said to the packed audience of young people at the IIMB Auditorium, pointing out that from newspapers and TV, the two top sources of news for Indians were now WhatsApp and YouTube, and journalism had sadly become about either “chamcha or morcha”.

    On her own journey as a journalist, she said: “Towards end of 2019, I had enough of TV. I was bored and I wanted to reinvent myself. Serendipity struck. Mojo (magic) struck.  There were a lot of things happening – students protests, riots and, of course, COVID. The lockdown, the plight of the migrants and the humanitarian crisis triggered my journey at Mojo Story and helped me rediscover why I had become a journalist as I took to the road from Delhi to Kerala reporting on COVID. During this time, people told me that what is important to them never manifests in the mainstream media. I hope to fill this void, with Mojo Story. From Kargil in 1999 to COVID in 2020, I have witnessed and chronicled history. I hope to give voice to the voiceless as my job is to be an effective storyteller.” Referring to Professor Noam Chomsky’s concept of manufactured consent, Barkha remarked that “TV created manufactured dissent. Polarities are often played up by broadcast media.” When asked if journalism in crisis in India, she said: “There is a breakdown of the relationship between the creator and the consumer of content. Everyone today thinks they are journalists. We must think of the cost that it takes to create content and the cost that consumers pay for it. At Mojo Story, we are exploring subscriptions, master classes and original productions for revenue. I would like to say here that for the price of two Starbucks a month, you can support an independent news platform for a year! To see journalism (TV) play in the background when you eat your dinner of alu paranthas is journalism’s biggest tragedy.”

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