Amidst the fireworks which were burnt during the Deepavali week, the nation received a bombshell. The editor-in-chief of Times Now and ET Now Arnab Goswami announced his decision of quitting the Times Group to start his own venture. The bombshell in the literal sense led to shock across newsrooms even as Twitter and social media went into a tizzy trying to speculate the reasons for quitting and wondering what next for the fiery anchor. For some, the exit from Times Now also spelled relief since he is seen as the key anchor responsible for oversimplification of TV debates. The nation wondered whether if Arnab’s blazing guns will silent and whether if there will be no more noise at 9 pm. It was as if viewers had been orphaned at a crucial moment and we were left to fend for ourselves to find alternative sources of entertainment to keep ourselves entertained at 9 pm.
There is little doubt about the severe credibility crisis that most journalists in India face today. Most journalists are perceived as power hungry and often believe in return and take through measures that encourage obeisance and sycophancy by keeping themselves blind to certain realities. Very few are actually granted entry into the privileged Lutyens’ media circle. Times Now’s studios are based in Mumbai and despite Arnab being an ‘outsider’ in a field which rarely looks beyond Delhi, he emerged as one of the successful TV anchors. He captured the nation’s imagination by capitalising on the repressed rage by making it his own. Questions, not answers, became the new trend, making him bigger than the brand of Times Now.
Individual opinions about Arnab and his contribution to journalism can vary but one cannot rob him of his success. He has converted opportunities into success because none of the other journalists—both from within and outside the circle—can match up to his fiery style of debate or command the viewership that Arnab singularly managed to steer for Times Now. As the nation’s daily dose of questioning comes to a standstill, one wonders about the future of 9 pm journalism. 9 pm will surely be duller until it begins again in another studio, at another time. Until then, we can only wish the best for Arnab’s future.