Sunday, September 25, 2011

Starting Anew

Later today I will go on air one last time. I've spent exactly 2.5 years at NewsX. There have been many ups & many downs. It's not easy staying motivated when you're consistently at the bottom of the ratings. But I understand enough about television to know ratings don't necessarily reflect the quality of your content or the hard work of the staff. (UPDATE: I should add that this isn't the reason I'm leaving. That will be apparent soon enough).

People here work hard. Too hard, sometimes. But luck hasn't been kind to them. There are many valuable lessons i'll take from my time here. Soon I shall manage a team of my own & these lessons will come in handy.

The first is there is simply no substitute for quality. Your audience may not always respond to its presence. However, they will instantly recognise its absence & they will be unforgiving.

The second is let people surprise you. People are inherently creative. Sadly, organisations tend to disincentivise reasonable risk-taking & initiative. Give people the freedom to create (and sometimes make mistakes). Invest in them and they will return great dividends. They will thank you.

Third, with a hat-tip to one of the greatest editors that lived, comment is free but facts are sacred. I won't say more on this.

Fourth, being a friendly boss is good but it's more important to be fair and reward & penalise with consistency.

Fifth, it's ok to "wing it" in the short term. But always make sure you're following a plan. Stick to the general "story arc" over the long run.

Sixth, don't shout unless it is the only way you will be heard in an emergency. Shouting achieves no long-term objective.

Seventh, growth & learning are extremely important both as an organisation and as a person. Never stop learning and you will never stop growing.

Eighth, a team without morale is in a very dangerous place. Good leaders work hard to ensure morale is high. They work hard to balance the team. They work hard to keep the team focused. Good teams also learn from mistakes without fear.

Ninth, if you're not comfortable doing something, say so. Never compromise on ethics.

And tenth, like quality, there is no substitute for hard work. A journalist spends time collecting facts. Then the journalist makes sense of these facts. Fact-finding & great writing are two pillars of a good story. But always in that order.


  1. Hi Pierre

    Just happened to see your blog and saw that you are leaving News X. I agree with all that you have said and can figure out where most of it is coming from. All the best for your next job!


  2. Thanks Vaishnavi. I appreciate that.


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