Being selected as Ambassador representing India at the Global Youth Leadership Summit in Korea led to me thinking of myself as primarily a global citizen. Working in close tandem with the world’s brightest minds gave me a perspective on the power media wields in shaping the minds of the youth. It also made me understand my penchant for travelling and working across cultures. This idea was cemented in my mind when I found myself mixing well with individuals of different nationalities at the summit of Mt. Batur- one of Indonesia’s highest volcanoes.
My fascination with business journalism dates back to my early days as a toddler still understanding how one leg follows the other. Watching my father, a business journalist and investment banker for over 20 years, come on TV would excite me to no end. Little did I know that getting born to parents with diverse backgrounds- a Punjabi mother and a South Indian father, would have a profound impact on my upbringing. Benefits of which, I reap to this day. Not only did it allow me to become embracive of different cultures and by extension workplaces, it helped imbue openess and inclusiveness in my persona.
Growing up, I went to countless conferences and interacted with the who’s who of the corporate world. Early on, I got the opportunity to be a TV news anchor for numerous episodes on CNN-IBN. I even modelled for leading brands like Airtel, Raymond, Park Avenue and did a glamour TVC with actress Shilpa Shetty. All these experiences kindled my interest further.
Key Learnings Over The Years
Writing several prize-winning essays, I have a decidedly strong flair for writing. For instance, I was presented the Eco-generation Award by Samsung Engineering after winning an all-India essay competition. I didn’t look at journalism as a potential career until I bagged the ‘Outstanding Journalist’ award while writing for The Independent, London at SMUN ‘14. Interviewing His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama, I was inspired by his sage guidance on the importance of having a strong fourth estate to boost awareness about the hardest problems of our generation.
However, my curiosity to learn new things in all directions led to me interning at Deutsche Bank, Lok Sabha, NITI Aayog and Apollo Hospitals. Exploring all possible alternative career paths, I dabbled with work from various fields. Yet somehow I was always drawn to journalism. During my stint at IIT-Delhi- India’s premier engineering institution, I was given a chance to closely study women-led startups to help nurture the women entrepreneurship ecosystem. Preparing press releases, newsletters and weekly reports for stakeholders chiselled my news-reporting skills. At this epicentre of innovation, I got the idea of starting my own mobile journalism news channel, focusing on startups and business. This zeal was reinforced when I was chosen to be a Student Coordinator at TiE Global Summit 2016- the world’s largest entrepreneurship summit.
“Right,” I said to myself. “There’s no way they will respond to my mails,” I thought to myself as I hit the ‘Send’ button. Having recently been chosen to represent India in Thailand for a conference by the Government in Thailand, I decided to take this opportunity to connect with some Thai entrepreneurs. At the time I was still in the process of chalking out the blueprint of my media startup. I began writing emails to leading Thai startup owners, including those spearheading Google’s only academy in Asia, requesting to interview them. I figured it would be unlikely that they would respond favourably since I didn’t represent any media house. However, to my pleasant surprise, I received several reverts from key people, in the affirmative. I am proud to report that after lining up interviews single-handedly, I have my own Instagram channel on business journalism.
With mobile journalism being the future of digital storytelling I found that business news, which is gathered, edited and distributed through portable devices, was an untapped niche on social media. Besides elevating the human interest angle of a story, it is a cost-effective way to produce cross-platform content. Further, it helps blur the lines between different silos like the video production desk and social media desk. Through this, the throughput of news dissemination would increase multifold since one no longer needs heavy-duty video editing equipment or satellite TV Outside Broadcasting OB vans.
Since the main challenge faced with everyone becoming a citizen journalist is fact-checking, I envision my media startup to do thorough quality checks by sifting through the torrent of video inputs flowing in. In today’s world, there is a dire need to understand mass media as also social media. With AI-based deep fakes overtaking face-morphing in creating fake news, I am determined to make financial news relatable, bearing the hallmark of integrity.