Interruptiritis Judgmentalis, it’s spreading

Panel or expert discussions seem to be the order of the day on the Indian TV channels. You invite ten experts for a five-minute show, interrupt half of them and cut them off, take “short” breaks, argue with the experts, and you’re well on your way to becoming a TV anchor.

The Big Fight on NDTV is mostly just that, a fight between the anchor and the experts to get their views heard. Ditto with We, the People, which used to be a program where there were discussions. Ms. Dutt, like everyone else (to be fair), is more of an editorializer than a moderator. It seems like she has a message for us everytime she’s on air. All that’s missing is the cheesy music.

If it seems like I’m targeting NDTV, I’m not, it’s just that I watch NDTV more than the other channels. It isn’t like CNN-IBN or Headline News or Times Now are doing any better. Fingernails grating across the blackboard sound like music in comparison.

I’d recommend a dose of interview school for everyone on TV right now. When you’re interviewing, you have to ask the right questions, you have to listen, and you have to get out of the way, as much as possible.

John Dykes, who hosts Football Focus & the English Premier League shows on ESPN-Star, is a master of conducting discussions and asking the right questions and spreading the ‘love’ around all the experts. It’s just a pleasure watching shows that he hosts. Andrew Leci, another football anchor, is no slouch either.

Sonali Chander, who hosts the sports stuff on NDTV some of the time, is pretty good but when you have to share the stage with Navjot Singh Siddhu, there’s only so much you can do. Even the lady (Tina I think) who anchored the cricket show for Zee Sports was pretty good.

Ironic that all the journalists I’ve mentioned cover sporting events. I don’t think, however, that we’ll be seeing Barkha hosting a cricket show anytime soon.


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