INTERVIEW OF GAURAV AGRAWAL OUTSIDE THE ZEE NEWS ROOM
Media was never under scrutiny as it is today. It is visibly polarised debating over two ideologies nationalism and anti nationalism more so often these days. And we all have our favorites! In recent years where Times now and Zee News audience base have increased then at the other hand channels like NDTV and Aaj Tak has surely established few very firm loyal viewership. How and when did this happen? And can we only blame the news channels for it? Our views,choices and preferences never played any role? Is electronics media is all about sensational news and TRPs now? There are many questions but we still can’t deny that media is still the 4th pillar of democracy. And how about taking the opinion of a news anchor himself on everything?
‘NAMASKAR MAI HU GAURAV AGRAWAL’
TIME 8PM, SHOW: BIG STORY BIG DEBATE, CHANNEL : ZEE BUSINESS
It is then when we hear this handsome husky voice on our TV screen and then the show begins which talk about country,people,politics and business in a very positive manner. The show is just not the sheer display of aggression or a platform to create issues but it is something I call real debate. There is place for everyone to argue over a topic in a very debatable manner. And the credit goes to the show host ‘Gaurav Agrawal’. Here is his story his way where the boundaries of his news room doesn’t limit him to just ask questions but to answer few. He talks very candidly about his journey from a rural village in UP to become a renowned face in the country.How he become a national level electronics media journalist inspite of being a commerce graduate and also how he wants to take Angelina Jolie on a date! So here we start his interview to be read and absorbed by you at the cozy comforts of your houses and feel inspired right away. And if you want to be journalist then here he tells you how to become a journalist too!
- Tell us about your early life!
I was born and brought up in Risia which is a small town in Bahraich district of UP. My father is a typical middle class strict Indian father and mummy is similarly typical Indian mother (think no need to elaborate).I am the only son along with two sisters. My elder sister was just a class ahead of me and very good in studies whereas I was just a normal average student. So I had this huge pressure of doing academically great throughout my schooling.But I couldn’t beat her ever and that is one of my dreams that never come true. HaHa!
I was also over judged for being naughty by my folks but trust me I think I was in control. Haha! Okay mumma I know I am lying. I was a bit naughty.
2. So you belonged to such a small place almost rural I guess, then how did your college happen?
Yeah, Risia is a small town which you can also categorise as a backward region. So unlike the colleges in metro cities I did my college in complete hindi medium from my place only. It was said to be a Co Ed but you see Co-Ed has a very different meaning altogether at small places in India. Talking to another gender was a myth. So I have seen and lived the real difference in rural India and urban India too.
Then after graduation in commerce I moved to Lucknow for further studies which by any mean was a big city for me after Risia. I now laugh over it. Then I did Diploma in journalism and eventually started my career in state capital. I did reporting, editing, camera and anchoring as well.
3. It’s not usual I mean becoming a national level journalist from a commerce background. I mean commerce students do opt for MBA and CA or sometimes UPSC but journalism is far-fetched. Isn’t it? How did this happen?
Well, it is a very interesting story actually. Destiny takes you places. My Dad is in government job and you know how big deal it is among Indian Families. Girls would dump a Nobel laureate for a government job employee here. Haha! So you see I was in immense pressure at those times but one day I saw a newspaper advertisement for a short-term course in Anchoring and Reporting. And that was it ‘my turning point’! I joined it and met some industry people like Ruchir Sir, Arif Sir and Firoz Sir. They all inspired me hugely and left an everlasting impression on me. And henceforth my journalism journey started.
4.How did Zee Business happen?
It was very fascinating to face camera for me then. After completing diploma I worked with few local channels in Lucknow. Then after few months I joined ETV Hyderabad. It is a nursery for the newbies. ETV taught me a lot of TV Media. The huge credit goes to ETV for whatever I am today. After it I moved to Delhi where India News was my first channel. As you know I am a commerce student so I was always interested in Business.So after India news I moved to few Delhi based channels and finally got a chance to prove myself in Zee Business.
I must thank to all my bosses who believe in me. It is my 3rd year with Zee Business and till now it’s been a fantastic journey. Initially it was fascinating to face camera but gradually I did not even know that when it became more of responsibility.
5.What is journalism to you and are there any boundaries left in today’s journalism?
Very Interesting question! As I said Journalism is a responsibility to me and now a days due to social media there is a pressure on journalism which personally is very boosting and positive for me. Yes there are a lot of obligations on media today but you will have to accept that still it’s the 4thpillar of democracy.
Now as you asked about the boundaries left or not, I will say that it very much depends on the viewers too. Viewers today are smart enough and in fact very choosy about what they want to see. In recent years there has been a polarisation of society and today journalism is evolving itself. So unlike popular belief it’s tough to project wrong things and go against the spirit of people as it eventually leads to exposing self in public. That is the power of social media today and journalism too.
6. Does TRP affect news making or news channel still focus on changing the society and creating the difference?
I would say both. TV media revenue comes on behalf of TRP so its essential part of our job. But at the same time it does try to create the difference very positively too.
7. You guys show how the world operates but never show how your world operates. So can you please tell me how this whole news world works?
In TV we use huge logistics to reach to our viewers. We have a huge outdoor and indoor teams and resources that works 24*7. Reporters and camera persons are on ground zero who collect news then on desk producers and team make it presentable. And after that us anchors deliver it to the viewers in the most effective manner possible.
It’s a very summarised detail. There lies a huge manpower and resource behind the doors and without their support it’s simply not possible. But I must thank you for such an interesting idea. It can prove to be a great way to interact with our viewers. We can make a show about us that will have a huge potential for TRP too. Lolz!
8. What are the challenges faced by an electronics media journalist and also share the perks associated with it too?
Like every other job in the world we have two sides too. Due to our job we are in touch of government and other influential personalities. So if I say that it doesn’t affect us then it will be a lie to ourselves. But challenges are bigger than the perks. A journalist has no fix working hours. We do 24*7 work in shifts but it’s also not fixed. Sometime we go in early morning shift and next day we might have to go late evening. Not only this ground reporters can’t leave their assignments until it’s complete. Sometimes one has to work for consecutive 3 or 4 days. The much debatable 26/11 coverage is the best example of this. That time we had to be in office and on ground zero for 3 consecutive days.
9. What are the most interesting situations which you and your team have to face ?
Oh! We all know about it. It’s very famous. The BREAKING NEWS! When you don’t know what is coming and suddenly bombarding happens. Newsroom gets hot and it’s like somebody activates the alert mode and everybody used to be in action. And these are the situations when a news anchor real potential is judged.
10. What is the best thing about your job and share one worst thing too?
Best thing is that you are aware of everything. You can collect information and knowledge from any source. Then you have an entire network of people at many places all around the globe which is all very fascinating. Then we talk about army and other jobs where the line of duty comes first but very few people would know that we also don’t get much time to spend with our families. There might be a family gathering at home but it’s not necessary that we ‘ll get to be there.
11.What qualities are needed to join electronics media and be an anchor?
A lot of communication skill is required and then knowledge, craving for knowledge, responsibility, current affairs, courage is also needed. I would say that a bit of looks and personality is required too and these days you also need to be a social media enthusiast to do good and reach more people. These are basic ingredients that make a good anchor.
12.If you’d be asked to take a woman out on date with you then who would that be?
You are asking this question to an Indian married guy. What else he can do rather than taking his spouse out? Rofl! But I will be honest, so if I get the chance then I would love to go with Angelina Jolie. I hope Anamika (my lovely wife) skips it. Fingers crossed. Hehe!
13. How have your life changed after becoming a news anchor?
Yes it is changed a bit. Society starts to give you respect and people treats you very gently. Haha! No on a serious note you actually feel a lot of responsibility towards people and nation.
14. Tell us about your popular show ‘Big Story Big Debate’.
Oh yeah, Thanks for asking it. ‘Big Story Big Debate’ is a prime time debate show of Zee Business. It is 5 day in a week show that comes from Mon to Fri by 8 PM. We pick a topic of public interest and try to get answer of public’s questions from the concerned personalities. It can be business issue and political as well. BSBD has a huge viewership and people like it very much.
15. You belong to a very rural place and hindi speaking state yet you made a niche for yourself into the glamorous media world. How did you achieve it? Is it really necessary to be well versed with English to do something like this?
I have answered about it in my earlier answers. I was craving to be successful and I tried to give my 100% on each and every opportunity provided to me. Everybody get a chance to prove themselves and It’s up to you that how you take it. It doesn’t matter whether you come from a small town or a metro city.
Knowledge has no boundaries or regions. Yes, English has become very essential part of our lives. Especially when you are in media then you have to be bilingual to communicate to larger audiences and viewers.
16. At last what is the message you want to give to all those aspiring young men and women who want to join the electronics media and become a journalist?
Try Hard and don’t be sad if it takes time to get the first opportunity. Especially when there are other platforms too where you can show your talent other than the electronics media. Everybody is talented but on the same pitch. So first recognise yourself and try honestly to achieve your dream. Web Journalism is emerging platform in India. This is again very fascinating to me too. Whenever I will get a good chance I will try it for sure.
Web is a platform where print and TV have same reach. So You can try for it too. But as I said know yourself first and then tell the rest of the world.
Thank you so much Gaurav for your time and we wish you the very best for all your upcoming seasons. And yeah get the Pulitzer too! Well you never know! Right? All the best! You really rock!
If you want to connect with him further this is his twitter and facebook handles