RIP Jehangir Pocha: A journalist & a gentleman

To most viewers, he looked fit as a fiddle. Hence, when news broke that NewsX editor in chief Jehangir Pocha had breathed his last, it came as a shocker. Some had only spoken to him the previous evening, others last week, or very recently, or like us earlier this year when he attended the Indian Digital Television Honours in New Delhi as a representative of the ITV group.


At first glance, Jehangir came across as a cool, calm, collected sort of a chap. A cultured Parsi gentleman used to speaking softly in measured tones when he encountered you in person. Beneath that mild-mannered exterior ran a probing journalistic mind, which posed many an incisive question that put those he interviewed on the 9X News channel on the spot.  


But unlike other celebrity news anchors on other English news channels who indulge in histrionics and one-sided shrill shouting matches, he gave his guests a chance to speak. His questions begged an answer, and respond guests had to, because Jehangir would not let them get away without doing so. Whether it was the former chief minister of Delhi Sheila Dixit or Amitabh Bachchan or Anna Hazare.


He was only a phone call away for us at the group and general manager Anoop Wanvari would oft reach out to him to partner with our various ground initiatives which he willingly did, even when he was finding it a struggle to keep NewsX going.  We are grateful to him for his support in our times of need.


A former colleague, Indrajit Gupta, the founding editor of Forbes India, writes in an obituary piece in BusinessWorld, that he got a call early last week from him, saying he was frustrated with the Indian system and he was dying to go back abroad.


“He sounded agitated. Venture capitalists had promised him they’d step in after the elections. But they hadn’t to back his plans. He wanted to bid for some distressed media assets in play,” writes Gupta in his obit. “The frustration was beginning to creep in.”


His last tweet on the night before he passed away mentioned that he was “hurrying home” with a news clip (about a Bombay High Court judgment that stated that reaching home late consistently without informing your wife amounts to cruelty) attached to it.


His demise prompted member of parliament Derek O’Brien to tweet: “The high pressure life of TV journalism?  Appan Menon at 49, SP Singh at 49 and today @JehangirPocha at 45 NewsX. Gone too soon.”


And that’s a question which begs answering: is the high pressure life of TV news journalism getting to those in it?  They may not know it, but it probably is. When you are working in the business of television news, you are working in a pressure-cooker environment.  


Deadlines because of the competitive nature of the business, irregular meals, pressure from affected vested interests while reporting, reporting from dangerous and conflict zones, keeping pace with the latest developments – the news journalist is on a treadmill that never seems to be stopping.


For the managements of news organisations, they have to additionally deal with rising costs not accompanied by revenue increases; carping advertising partners disturbed by news reports; maintaining, nay, improving viewership ratings, innovating with changing technology and what have you.


One can say that all these pressures are intrinsic – and have been so for long - to running a news channel. But they have been magnified in the recent past in India with increasing competition and the rapid commercialisation of news. It is quite likely that these will exacerbate further.


Jehangir was under pressure. His channel was in keen competition with the English language news leader Times Now.  He wanted to expand his company’s business footprint, could not for want of capital and was thus frustrated, which added to his pressure.


Therefore it’s about time TV news organisations introspected and even made those that are employed with them look deep within. Regular health checks, exercise, and leading a well-paced daily routine generally should be encouraged even more.


It could go some way in preventing many more from going the Jehangir Pocha, Appan Menon, and SP Singh way.

Latest Reads
Content a 'Game of Thrones'; AT&T's control over HBO, Cartoon Network, Warner Bros faces regulatory lens

The global media landscape is resulting in a new juggernaut as an internet and cable behemoth yesterday purchased an entertainment conglomerate making the former unmatched in its size and reach to consumers through home broadband, smartphones, satellite television and a battery of movies and cable...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
US$ 4.5 bn expected from IPL rights; SC recommends accounts scrutiny

The Supreme Court on Friday froze all financial transactions between the BCCI and state cricket associations by directing the apex body not to disburse any funds till it resolves to abide by the Justice RM Lodha panel recommendations on reforms by 3 December . The top court ordered that none of...

Television TV Channels Sports
TVS Tyres is co-presenter for Asian Champions Trophy 2016

Continuing its strong connect with sports, TVS Tyres has associated with Asian Champions Trophy 2016 by becoming the co-presenter. The Asian Champions Trophy is one of the premier hockey tournaments, a much sought after annual international competition promising some great hockey action. This...

Television TV Channels Sports
Q2-17: Zee Learn declares maiden interim dividend

The board of directors of the Essel group’s education company Zee Learn Limited (ZLL) have declared a first time ever dividend of 5 percent per equity share of Re 1 each for the quarter ended 30 September 2016 (Q2-17, current quarter).

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Whether BARC action can stop unethical practices?

MUMBAI: Can businesses and industries practise their art of selling fairly although they have 'Fair Practices' training during academic courses, workshops and several ISO and other certifications? There seems to be the fear of the lawman, and not the law in India. If the traffic cop is watching,...

Television TV Channels Viewership
TV Superhighway: beIN, Yaddo, AfricaXP have joined us, says Magine CEO Ambuj Goyal

CANNES; Magine has secured partnerships with four of the industry’s most exciting sports, documentary and entertainment content providers. Partnerships with beIN, the international media group and owner of MIRAMAX; Yaddo, the new documentary streaming service headed up by former head of The BBC’s...

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Colors emerges strong on strength of Naagin I & II

MUMBAI: One of the top rated shows Naagin Season 2 helped Colors reach a top-ranking position.

Television TV Channels GECs
Pakistan Broadcasters Association to oppose PEMRA Indian content ban

MUMBAI: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) shocked both Pakistan and Indian broadcasters when it issued an order blanking out  all Indian content from Pakistan’s television channels on 19 October.

Television TV Channels GECs
Sony Pix to telecast 'Jurassic World' on 22 October

Sony Pix will take the viewers on a thrilling, adventurous journey with cloned dinosaurs in their Billion Dollar Premiere property. The channel plans to air Jurassic World on 22 October at 1 pm and 9 pm.

Television TV Channels English Entertainment

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories