It’s Like TV in the 90s, No Templates: Ritu Kapur on Digital Media
<b>The Quint</b><i> </i>co-founder Ritu Kapur. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
The Quint co-founder Ritu Kapur. (Photo: The Quint)

It’s Like TV in the 90s, No Templates: Ritu Kapur on Digital Media

In an interview with Hauterfly, The Quint’s co-founder Ritu Kapur talked about her two-decade long experience in Indian media and two-year stint in Digital media. Her journey that began with TV 18 has led her to start Quintillion Media with Raghav Bahl. Here is how she keeps up the fast pace of the digital world.

On how they made the shift from TV to mobile journalism:

At this time, two things became clear to us – one was that young India had stopped consuming content via newspapers and TV channels, at least in the metros, but still wanted to engage with current affairs; and second was that content consumption had become non-linear – they were consuming it as and when they wished, and that too, in the palm of their hands.
When we delved into the Sheena Bora case and reignited the Aarushi murder case, we realised that these are the matters that young India was interested in and engaging with. Once we knew what kind of stories we wanted to do, we had to figure out what format to push them out in. So we experimented a lot with various forms of multimedia, and when we got a positive response, we realised that we had something special on our hands.

The most rewarding part of the process of starting a new company, says Kapur, is working with young minds. “It’s such a high to come into the morning edit meeting, where there is no way to predict what ideas will come our way.” The bigger struggles, however, are:

The challenge was to ensure that our editorial vision didn’t get carried away; that we put forth a balanced point of view; that our content is error-free. We didn’t want to dampen spirits or implement bureaucratic protocol because that kills experimentation. 

On challenges that a digital company faces as compared to legacy media, Kapur says that she never looks over her shoulder or tries to compare themselves with legacy media.

Legacy players have huge loyalty, but I find that they can’t be as agile as we can be. In digital, you need to adapt to anything that comes your way. Looking back in time to see what legacy media is doing, or trying to compete with that — I don’t think we need to do that.

“If I try and compete with a legacy player, I run the risk of becoming stale. I don’t want to compete with them, because obviously they have huge boots in the ground, infrastructure in place — I’ve been there with Network 18.”

In the fast-moving world of digital, no two weeks are the same, and that’s the joy of working in a digital company, says Kapur.

We have a young team, the thinking is young, the reader is young. But also the youthfulness in terms of where digital is at right now. Every couple of months, things just turn on their heads.
Like one Snapchat filter comes along and storytelling changes. It’s pretty much like when we were experimenting with television in the 90s — there was no one to come and tell us “this is how it needs to be done”. There are no templates. 

On lessons learnt along the way, Kapur says that more than lessons, the challenge is not to slow down and never stop experimenting, without losing editorial balance. “We need to be sure to keep track of what the reader wants and of the people whose stories we’re telling, how to not become a newsroom armchair editorial,” she adds.

(The interview was first published on Hauterfly.)

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