Arnab Goswami's advice to budding digital news entrepreneurs and independent journalists

The new media should be independent, able to shout out loud

NEW DELHI: There is no denying the fact that Arnab Goswami today is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the Indian news media space today, having taken his labour of love Republic TV Network to number 1 spot within a span of a few years of its launch. But it certainly wasn’t an easy journey for him to achieve that. 

However,  he learnt a great many lessons on his way to excellence. And as he takes on the next step in the trajectory towards diversifying his digital reach, he recently shared his tips for budding entrepreneurs in the new media space during a virtual fireside discussion with founder, CEO & editor-in-chief Anil Wanvari. 

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1. Be financially independent

Goswami pointed out that a journalist can retain his/her independence only if they are not dependent on someone else for the constant flow of money. He insisted that the money could be arranged through debt, equity, or donation. 

“I will advise that one should avoid going into debt and not rely on donation. There is nothing called a free lunch. Do not accept any strategic investment if you are not sure about being able to give the investors an exit in the near future. You should ask yourself the question if you can’t give them an exit, will they be deciding your editorial content in future,” he noted. 

2. Break-even

Your initial focus should be on breaking even in the initial months of the business. The most important thing for any digital business is to break even. 

“The mistake that many entrepreneurs in the digital space make that they get  excited with the initial rush of money but they should be very careful where they spend it. Ask yourself if you can break even in one month, and if you can’t you should not be taking away from your co-workers and essential resources. Don’t splurge on  vanity,” he explained. 

3. Don’t launch a content strategy based on seasonality 

One must not be creating a content strategy based on seasonal issues. The same editorial angle might not work in the long run as the audience's thought process might not sustain. Therefore, a content strategy should be independent. 

“You should only be answerable to viewers who have faith in you. Do not change your editorial stance based on social media commentaries. The beauty of the media lies in the very fact that the people criticising you for one story might start supporting you for others,” Goswami quipped. 

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