Television

"There is no creativity or innovation in the Marathi news channels' space:" Nikhil Wagle

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At the age of 19 he became the editor-in-chief of a regional daily and today has journalism experience of more than 35 years. Besides being on top of each and every beat, he was keenly focused on investigative journalism. 

In August 2004, he became a victim of aggressive Shiv Sena supporters who were irked by his belligerence and brave journalism. He is the inspiration for many igniting minds who are keen to peruse a career in journalism; he is none other than veteran Marathi pressman Nikhil Wagle.

Speaking exclusively to Indiantelevision.com’s Sagar Shere, Wagle shares his vision on the Marathi news space, where he feels there is huge room for creative experimentation.

Excerpts:

How has your stint with Mi Marathi been so far? What was the reason behind choosing the channel when you switched from IBN Lokmat?

It’s just been nine months since I joined Mi Marathi and I am not working full time here. I only do one show for them which is Point Blank. The reason behind switching from IBN Lokmat was that the entire IBN network was taken over by Mukesh Ambani. We had conflicts on policies and ideology with them. We worked under Rajdeep Sardesai as a team and resigned because we thought Ambani will not give us the freedom to work as a journalist. 

I liked the policies of Mi Marathi and their ideation behind news so I thought of coming to Mi Marathi. 

There has been a drastic growth in the Marathi news channel space. What do you think is the pulling point for audiences and what does the Marathi news channel genre needs to work on to get in more viewers?

Marathi news channel is growing and it was always better than Hindi news channel on the basis of content. When IBN Lokmat and ABP Mazha were newly born, they infused young blood and were ready to experiment. However now they seem to have faced a setback. These days Marathi news channels have started following a set pattern for everything, be it for news gathering, news visualizing, programming or debate. There is no innovation in Marathi news space. 

From your perspective, what are the changes that you have seen over the years in the genre? In terms of approach for news, do you think there is a different strategy that Marathi channels are adopting now? 

We need more creativity, more ideas and more experimentation in Marathi news channels. We should infuse young blood so that we can experiment and create good content. We need to concentrate on investigative journalism. These days all news channels thrive on byte journalism and feature programmes. However the need of the hour is investigative journalism. Over the past seven years, news channels have turned stale. We need fresh outlook. Moreover, new perceptions and innovation is always accepted by the audience. 

Do you think there is scope for more news channels in the Marathi space?

There is ample scope for Marathi news channels because IBM Lokmat has gone down in TRP and advertising. There was competition between IBN Lokmat, ABP Mazha and Zee 24tass. However, over the last one year there is no competition between these news channels. Also there is no quality news gathering, quality of format and quality programmes.

If there is no competition you lose the passion and that is what has happened with Marathi news channels. At this point in time, if someone tries to break the format and comes up with something new, it will be great and viewers will definitely like it.

What is the target group for regional news channels?

Target audience for Marathi regional channels are all Marathi speaking audiences. They cater to middle class, higher middle class, rural and urban audience. Everyone has a different taste and a news channel should look after all its target audiences but sometimes you don’t need to look for a TG because some stories are important for the nation news wise and at that time you don’t look for TG. Stories like farmers' suicide, terrorist attacks and natural calamities are serious issues and you can’t look at the TG before showcasing them.

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