DD News does the big poach on Aaj Tak

NEW DELHI: India's pubcaster Doordarshan is poaching and doing so with gay abandon.

As part of phase one of expansion and restructuring of its recently launched news channel, DD News, around eight more people from the "subse tez" news channel Aaj Tak have been grabbed by DD, apart from some more who have worked in other private television channels.

"More people are joining DD News and some of them are from Aaj Tak also," Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma said today, adding that a request has been made to the government to send on deputation some Indian Information Service (IIS) officers to strengthen the functioning of DD News.

The people from private channels, including Aaj Tak, who are slated to join DD News later this month have been drawn from all sections, including copywriters and reporters-cum-anchors. But most of them, except one lady who had worked with NDTV at one time, are coming at a salary package ranging between Rs 22,000 and Rs 30,000, Sarma said.

The onslaught on Aaj Tak, seemingly the nursery for TV journalists, began anew recently when around Diwali time last year, DD snapped up its political editor Deepak Chaurasia as a consulting editor to DD News. Soon after some people followed Chaurasia and now more are leaving the leader, especially at a time when the company managing Aaj Tak and Headlines Today is to debut on the stock markets this month. There are even rumours of TV Today Network's news director Uday Shankar leaving for Star News.

According to Sarma, DD News, which has been performing well amongst the news channels, would undergo some restructuring on the lines of private channels.

For starters, to bring in greater sense of professionalism, input, output and assignment desks would be created. This would also be followed up by bringing in some more style as the former NDTV person, hired at a monthly remuneration of Rs 70,000, would also function as a style consultant.

Sarma also said that the hunt for a permanent head for DD News is currently on. "I have been meeting up with people for this post and soon it would be filled up," he added.

At the moment, Sanjiv Dutta, functions as the additional director general of news after his predecessor Swagat Ghosh was removed from DD News and banished to a low-profile I&B ministry organization recently.

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