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'Verify, Then Publish': Thank You Ravish Kumar For Making Me a Better Journalist

I am lucky to have worked with Ravish Kumar. It makes me sad to see him going through what he's going through.

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1 December 2022 is the saddest day in my professional career. A man with a steel-grade strength, often referred to as the pillar of today's journalism, seems to have been pushed back by what's unfolding at one of the most popular TV networks of the country, NDTV. I am sure you would have guessed whom I am talking about- The Ravish Kumar.

On Thursday, Ravish sir, on his YouTube channel, announced that he has officially resigned from NDTV after serving there for over 26 years. 

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'I Wouldn't Have Been A Journalist If Ravish...'

After watching his video, I was numb for a few minutes. His video took me back to 2015 when I left my career in engineering and joined NDTV with the hope of working with this honest journalist. He is the only reason I decided to become a journalist. 

I joined NDTV as an intern. It was 8 May 2015 when I saw the charismatic Ravish sir in the newsroom. I remember the date clearly because my first aim when I entered the office was to meet him.

Well, I just saw him. I didn't meet him because I was way too hesitant to go in front of him.  

For the next two years, I tried several times to meet him, but my hesitation never allowed me to.

As weeks and months passed by, I saw that he would come to the office at 2 pm. So, knowingly, I used to walk down the staircase from where he would arrive to greet him.  

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'Working With Him Was A Dream Come True'

Then in 2018, I finally got a chance to work with him. By then, he had already worked for over 22 years, and I was only a 3-year-old journalist. His energy, passion, and enthusiasms were levels above mine and that of which I couldn’t match.  

In the same year, he was doing some college series in his Prime Time, showing the poor condition of the colleges in Bihar. I suggested a story I came across that would fit his series.  

When I spoke to him about it, his first reply was, "Pehle isko likh lijiye phir cheezen zyada clear hoti hai. Uske baad process shuru kijiye. (It’s best you write down your notes first. It helps to understand the story better)."

This simple feedback made writing and conceptualising ideas easy for me.

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His go-to tip was, 'Never get overwhelmed by any story.' Even if a story is important and needs urgent publishing, his mantra was, 'verify kar lijiye 2-3 sources se'. (Always verify your story from 2-3 sources, then proceed.) The basic mantra holds so true today.  

For years, he worked in his Prime Time writing his introduction and scripts with the same dedication. He would punctually arrive at the office at 2 pm. Ravish sir would talk to colleagues about the developing stories of the day and then sit with his researcher to work on it by 4 pm.

He once told me, "Mujhe kam se kam 2 ghante chahiye hote hain apne show ke liye likhne ko. Isliye main 6 baje ke baad zyada kisi se baat ni karta. (I need at least two hours to write my script before the show. That’s why, after 6 pm, I don’t interact with anyone)."  

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Since I am one of the luckiest journalists to have worked with and around him, it makes me sad to see him going through what he's going through.

During my five years at NDTV, I always wanted to tell him how he has impacted my life and how I see things, but I was never able to say to him until 2020.  

18 February 2020 was my last working day at NDTV. I gathered courage and told him how he had impacted my life and how his works have been my source of knowledge and inspiration. I also informed him that I would be joining The Quint. He was pleased to hear that.  

I still remember what he said, "Aaj kal logo ko TV band kar dena chaiye kynki TV pe Hindu-Muslim ke alawa kuch aur nahi kiya jaata. Accha hai aap The Quint jaa rahe hain kynki Quint jaise digital media organisations me young journalists baut accha kaam kar re hain...Aap ko bhi accha kaam karne ka mauka milega. All the best. (People should now switch off their television because apart from communal news, there is nothing that is shown on the TV. It’s good you are moving to The Quint, which is a good digital organisation where young journalists are doing good work. You, too, will get a fantastic opportunity to do some excellent work there)."

This conversation was the best farewell gift I could have asked for.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Ravish Kumar 

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