Saturday, August 04, 2012

So this is what I did at Times Now

This entry has waited a really long time and right now, as I sit in this almost empty compartment of my train to Delhi and reading a special book, I am urged to use the time and finally write it.

I joined Times Now as an intern on 4th of June. Four days later I was sitting in office late at night and had penned, what were, my ‘first thoughts’ regarding the place. (If interested, you can check it here) What hadn’t been a part of the entry was my assessment regarding the days I spent there and of course, since it was in the very first week, it didn’t carry any of the light details of my experiences in the next five weeks. Yeah, I am going to write all the normal stuff- how good I felt, what a wonderful experience it was, the amazing people I met, blah, blah, blah… There might be small bits of info that you would find amusing and unexpected to read. But well, you have been warned! Continue reading at your own time’s risk [:D]

I completed writing my summer training report a few days back and thanks to that, I have already written a few good paragraphs about my experiences. But considering that it is an official report, I was careful not to be too personal in it. But this is my blog and I have got all the rights to brag about whatever I wish and so here goes the stuff, (well almost all of it!) [;)]

One thing that I had heard from my seniors at college was, the bigger the organisation, the lesser the work an intern should expect. Having worked at a comparatively smaller organisationlast year and having had a great time there, I wanted to have this ‘big organisation’ feel this time. My sole intention with the internship this time at Times Now was to get to learn how each and everything works in a news organisation and to determine for myself, if I would like to work in a news channel in the future or not.

The Times Centre, captured from the backside on one of my ricksaw journeys from the metro station
As per their internship programme at Times Now, I was placed in the ‘Guest Relations Desk’ for the initial three weeks and at the ‘Programming/Features Desk’ for the latter period. At the Guest Desk, the work mainly involved planning and coordinating eminent personalities/guests for the flagship show- The Newshour Debate at 9. The Programming Desk, on the other hand, focuses on the feature and weekend shows of the channel. During my tenure, one of the most talked about shows of the channel was what my colleagues and I were working on.

On the one hand I strived to complete all my assigned work in the quickest and the best way possible and on the other, I bumped into new tit-bits of information and experience every single day, thus fulfilling my objective of getting to learn everything about the place in the short time I had there.

The view from the front- Times Centre. Sepia-toned by me to adjust the night lighting
Some of the moments which I would call the biggest ‘high-points’ during my entire tenure at the channel are surely some I would love to share. I have mentioned a lot of names in the next paragraphs, and all of it is mentioned in the best of the interests of all the people. I hope I haven’t crossed any lines anywhere, and if I have done, then I hope it can be ignored as a ‘young mind’s ignorance’.

First, going on an unaccompanied ‘mission’ to a senior leader’s residence- I wouldn’t say I was very confident, but thanks to Debali’s ‘Would you like to go? You can learn a lot’, I wasn’t missing the opportunity.  Next, accompanying Sangeeta so many times for important missions and getting to learn so many things in the short conversations with her regarding the media and especially about the guests, it was both educating and fun. Not to forget meeting the many important people that I had only seen on TV including Baba Ramdev and the rest of Team Anna on my internship Day 1. I surely can’t miss out Rahul Sir, for he was the one who gave me all those innumerable excel files which never seemed to end. :D

The train has come to a halt. It’s Adra. And even now it doesn’t seem there is anyone climbing up my bogie and taking from me my freedom of using the plug point. So let me continue…

I had learnt that the head of the guest relations desk was a very kind and gentle person who took care of his team well. When I met this person on my first day, the first impression I had about him was not exactly what I would term ‘gentle’. With the days passing, I got to learn (with hands-on experience) that this person that I am talking about had a great sense of humour and loved scaring me. It was also thanks to him, I was able to sneak into the studio when the boss was conducting a LIVE show. James Sir, yes, I finally wrote about you on my blog! [:D]

The Guest Team- Debali, James Sir, Rahul Sir. Sangeeta is missing in the pic.
It was James Sir who introduced me to the boss, Mr Arnab Goswami, on one of those days when he was in the Noida office.

I accompany James Sir to be introduced to the boss:
Sir, this is Antarik, he is interning with us.’
My smile doesn’t cease but there is an unmistakeable nervousness inside me. I shake hands with ‘the’ Arnab Goswami.
Hello Antarik. How are you?
I am good Sir, it’s great meeting you’, the words barely leave my mouth, thanks to my nervousness!
So you are studying?’
Yes Sir. I am in the second year of my graduation.
Ok. So you must be around 20?
Yes sir.
Great. I started working when I was 21!
I smiled, not knowing what to say. I wish I had asked him, ‘Sir, can I click a picture with you?’ But I didn’t and later, regretted missing out on the opportunity.
The HR, Ms Rashmi had introduced me to Surabhi, the head of the Programming department. On my first day there, Surabhi introduced me to all the team mates (yeah, this was a girl-dominant territory). I did know one person there before even joining the place although for almost some time she didn’t recall our meeting. I had met Anushree at India Gate almost a year back during one of the Team Anna candle-light marches. Considering how bad I am with names, it took me some time to recognize all the team members and being able to correspond the right names to the faces.
My first day at the programming division was one full of activity. I got to visit the library (I never knew how a news channel library is, one without books), saw the ingesting and logging of tapes and learnt Avid editing software (it was a lot easier than Adobe Premiere Pro!) In the days to come, I got a chance to go on a shoot as well as for a recce. To check how I presented myself in front of the camera, I was even asked to record a mock Piece-to-Camera during a particular shoot. (And probably that was the first time when I realized I was pathetic in front of the camera!)
Yeah, that was just a pose!
The entire production team, including Surabhi, Samriti, Anushree, Ambika, Zubina, Neha, Surbhi, Uzma, Dayeeta and Kailash, was always supportive of me and I loved the fact that even my opinion found space and value during the meetings.

The Production Team- Surabhi, Dayeeta, Ambika, Zubina, Kailash, Neha, Anushree and Uzma. A few missing faces here as well.
Travelling home in the office cab with senior staff members during the night shifts was probably the best 40 minutes I spent learning. The conversations I had with them, which included people like the National editor Mr Srinjoy Chowdhury, the head of Noida PCR Mr Vicky, Pooja, Ambika and a few other people, gave me a lot of inside information to the working of the channel and they suggested ways in which I could make the most out of my tenure here. In fact, the cab drivers were the best source of all inside and untold stories regarding the place.

Here is a snippet from my conversation with Mr Srinjoy Chowdhury in one of those cabs, a conversation which I thought I ought to put up on my facebook timeline:
 

And in case you made a guess (which I am sure you didn’t) which book I am reading right now that prompted me to write this blog entry in the train, well, it has got a lot to do with Times Now. I am mid-way through reading Mr Chowdhury’s ‘Despatches from Kargil’ and sure it has been difficult to not continue reading the book for the last two hours and instead write this entry. And if you are wondering why I said this was a special book, well, it doesn’t usually happen that I read a book whose author is someone I know and have met and well, who knows me! [;)]

With Srinjoy Sir and Shantanu Sir

With Srinjoy Sir and Gita
Although the unusually long travel-time (almost 3 and half hours every day) and working hours (8-12 hours each day) needed a little getting used to, I was surely enjoying my stint at my second workplace. When I left the place, I was certain that I was carrying some great memories of the people I had worked with and the experience I gained here working right under the boss’s nose, at India’s #1 English news channel, surely wouldn’t have been possible elsewhere.

So this is what I did at Times Now.

12 comments :

  1. Nice Experience well written. You learn a lot simply by meeting and working with people who matter. No text book teaches these life lessons. Your flair for keen observation is laudable. Keep up the spirit. Success will run after you.

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    1. Antarik bhaiya thank u so much for writing this entry,it will help many to know about the experience which anyone feels after working with great people.There r other queries also.It will be great if u can answer some.

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  2. Nicely related wonderful experience... :D :D Keep enjoying and learning... :) :)

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  3. Loved reading your account Antarik. You write quite well so keep putting your experiences into words! Just the right thing to do :)

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    1. Thanks aB. I hope I have guessed correctly who you are ;)

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  4. it ws just too amazingg... it made me really very excited fr my future internship :p

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    1. haha..thats grt Shivam! I am sure you will do well. Good luck :)

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  5. Its great :)
    Can I know how did you get an internship with times now. I have been trying to apply wince forever.

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    1. I would suggest keep an eye on the openings that the HR guys keep posting on the media jobs page on facebook. There are quite a few for Times Now! :)

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  6. Amazing experience. How you got the internship?

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