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Shankar plans shift to meaningful news on Star News

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MUMBAI: News, probing and more meaningful, is Uday Shankar's imminent agenda for the channel he now helms after the exit of channel president Ravina Raj Kohli. Star News will move into 'some areas of news that need to be exploited', he told indiantelevision.com in a recent interview. "We would like to examine rather than just report news....."

Shankar's plans mark a shift from the trend that news channels have been increasingly following for the past months. The former editor of development issues magazine Down to Earth and ex Aaj Tak news director plans to wean viewers away from the focus trained thus far on entertainment led shows and the glamour quotient. "We would like to raise the questions that come to people's minds when they watch news. That itself can change the way news is done," he avers.

While entertainment coverage will continue to be a part of the programming mix, Shankar says he would be 'extremely wary' of putting out too many shows in the same vein. Expect more of grassroots coverage, in-depth evaluation of issues that matter on Star News over the next few months, as a fresh team of nearly two dozen reporters and presenters have been groomed by Shankar. "My definition of news is something that makes an impact, by influencing the quality of life of people," he says.

Another agenda that Shankar intends tackling is women viewers. "I think women are not being targeted enough and they are a very important segment of domestic decision makers. News impacts them, but the sources of information is quite limited in this country than the sources of information for men." That would also imply taking news out of the clutches of prime time, as the former Aaj Tak news director puts it, and 'inculcating the habit of anytime viewing'.

If the channel plans to turn a trifle serious in the coming day, Shankar is clear that Star News does not intend to sit in judgement over what viewers want, but insists that the channel will also "point out the other side to them too. We want to be a channel that parents would recommend for their children, a complete family channel, because we project the right values, we help inculcate a sense of good values, and we make a deference to the people's quality of life."

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