Note: At this year's SAJA Gala Awards &
Scholarship Dinner, three of the most senior South Asian Journalists in
the United States were asked to appear on a panel called "View from the
Top". Two of them - Madhulika
Sikka, executive producer of NPR's Morning Edition; and Raju
Narisetti, managing editor of the Washington Post - are winners of
this year's SAJA Journalism Leader Award, given for outstanding
leadership. The third speaker, Jai
Singh, won the SAJA Journalism Leader
Award, in 2003, along with Rena Golden, then head of CNN International;
and the late Peter Jennings.
Interview by Shanti Venkataraman.
Narisetti is a journalist who frequently makes news himself.
In 2006, the veteran The Wall Street Journal editor decided to move to India to launch a business newspaper in a highly competitive market that already had four flourishing business dailies. In 2008, he made news again when he returned to the U.S. as the managing editor of The Washington Post.
Ahead of the SAJA Gala on July 24, 2010, Raju Narisetti offered us his view from the top. Here are excerpts from an interview with SAJA Forum blogger Shanthi Venkataraman:
How is it to be back in the US, after your experience of launching Mint in India? Has your perspective of journalism, and the news we cover, changed?
The three years I spent in India were actually that of real adjustment after spending 20 years in American journalism. If I had to do it all over again, I would do it in a heartbeat. You can spend a lifetime here and never get the chance to launch something new and see it grow well. It was immensely satisfying experience, and Mint continues to do well. Just this month, it launched another edition in Ahmedabad, India. And it just broke even, three years after its launch and that, too, in a global recession. For it to be recognized as a paper with quality, ethics and analysis – that accomplishes everything that I set out to do.
What was your experience with the media industry there?
Obviously the industry was completely different. It is a dynamic industry. Unlike here circulation and advertising there is growing in the double digits. The business side of the media is doing really well. On the journalism end of it: multiple choices have not necessarily led to a substantial increase in quality of journalism. The industry is in a transition phase, though and Mint is evidence that quality journalism and analysis has value.