‘Citizen Journalist’ remains to be a show sans baggage: Anubha Bhonsle

MUMBAI: The Press has always been considered as the fourth pillar of democracy, but in a vast country like India, the plight of citizens seldom reach the mainstream media. Almost a decade back with the mission of empowering every citizen with a platform of expression, CNN-IBN launched a show called Citizen Journalist Show (CJ). The show travelled to various nooks and corners of the country and Indians became a part of it by sharing their stories.


Acknowledging the emergence of digital years after inception, the network has decided to re-brand the show as CJ+, which will not only have a presence on television but will also be available on digital platforms. “The scrutinization will remain the same,” says CNN-IBN executive Anubha Bhonsle, adding, “The critics of the show often reverberate that as the show is now available on digital, the content’s credibility will get compromised but that’s not true. The story will still go through the same rigour, and the show’s rich legacy, authenticity in reportage will remain intact.”


CJ Show airs on the channel every Saturday. “People had to wait for the content to come on television and if they missed it, it was gone. Digital now enables viewers to see the content whenever they want and that’s something that we have achieved,” informs Bhonsle.


From 1 August, 2015 the new avatar has unfolded for the mass and the reaction has been positive asserts Bhonsle. “Considering that it has been just two weeks, I would refrain from giving numbers but yes viewership has gone up and we are expecting it to grow bigger. We want CJ+ to enhance its base, reach out to more people and tell many more stories and digital will help us achieving that goal,” she says.


“The idea of CJ+ came in because we were interested in new age story telling, where we will intersect journalists with technology and make things more digitised. But at the end of the day, we will continue to be what we were. People can still use the previous procedures that they were using to connect with us,” adds Bhonsle.


With digital innovation rolled out, the probability of rural India sharing their story multiplies. When queried about rural India, Bhonsle says, “I will not say that we received an overwhelming response from rural areas after we launched the digital platform. Rural reacts the most to word of mouth. Whenever we feature a story, we observe many talking about it. It’s early days yet so we will see how it goes.”


CJ over the years has remained a show that carried no baggage,” says Bhonsle. At a time when television news is occupied by panel discussions and high decibel debates, CJ+ comes out as a differentiator. Now it remains to be seen if the new format garners mass recognition and more importantly whether it manages to grab advertisers’ attention too in a world ruled by ad revenues.


On Twitter, CJ+ has 14.8K followers, while the Facebook page has over 15k likes.

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