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Star News empowers viewer to 'be the reporter'

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NEW DELHI: In an effort to further broaden its viewership and involve the audience more, Star News has decided to turn the common man into a TV journalist through an initiative that is called 'You Be The Reporter'.

"Through `You Be The Reporter', we not only want to become relevant to our audience, but also involve them in our endeavour to give them news and information that they would like to watch and/or highlight," Star News president Ravina Raj Kohli told indiantelevision.com on a day when the whole country, especially Delhi, was all agog with the news of Aveek Sarkar of Ananda Bazar Patrika group was all set to pick up 74 per cent equity stake in the news venture.

Though, Kohli had evaded all questions on Star News' restructuring --- even dismissing a business newspaper report as being not true --- she did admit that several initiatives are in the pipeline to involve the audience more with the news channel.

According to Kohli, `You Be The Reporter' will allow any person to call up a designated number --- to begin with in Mumbai --- and give information on a happening or even something that he/she would like Star News to cover.

"After the information is verified, it'd be used by the news channel with due credit given to the person," she added.

However, TV industry critics said that such initiatives are okay to begin with, but as time passes bogus information keeps piling up and a channel may face problems weeding out the wanted from the unwanted.

Agreeing to this, Kohli said that this is something that Star News would have to live with, though efforts would be made to minimise the junk. Still, she maintained that initiatives like this would "increase the involvement of the audience" with the channel.

The promos for this new initiative is likely to go on air soon on Star News, probably towards the last leg of commercial time on the channel's new blockbuster programme Kaun Banega Mukhyamantri (Who'll Become the Chief Minister).

According to Kohli, the promos have been put on the cable networks already. "As we get a toll free unified four-digit number for the whole country, we'd try to expand the initiative to other parts of the country soon."

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