It Is Our Responsibility As Women To Make Ourselves Heard: Shereen Bhan
One of India's leading TV anchors talks about journalism, the changing audience and her experience as a woman in a leadership role
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Shereen Bhan who has redefined the business journalism landscape in India keeps her motivation levels high, by setting high standards of journalism every day. One of the most recognised faces of Indian media, who was voted FICCI Woman of the Year 2005, talks on Women's Day 2017 about the change women should bring in their lives.
In an interview with BW Businessworld, Bhan talks about her take on journalism, the changing audience and her experience as a woman in a leadership role, in the media industry.
Bhan believes the key to good journalism is getting it right rather than getting it first.
Woman in journalism are often referred to as "Glam Dolls", there is a pressure to deliver your best and look your best, do you think it is changing now?
Women being glam dolls is so far away from the truth. We as journalists work in a very fast paced industry. There are so many things we must keep track off, like the trends, breaking stories the facts etc. I think looking a certain way takes the lowest spot on our priority list. I look a certain way on TV and that is nothing more than presentable. Mainly because of the nature of the medium it becomes important to take it into consideration. But today the audience is very smart, they watch us because they want to watch the news. They can tell the difference between good journalism and mere news presentation. If the women in the media were just a bunch of pretty faces, we wouldn't survive long.
Did you ever face any gender differences and bias in your career as a journalist, how did you handle that?
In the early years of my career I did not encounter any bias as such, maybe some subtle ones which had nothing to do with my gender. But as I climbed up the ladder and took a position at a management level, as a leader at some level I felt that I wasn't too included in the decision-making process. I was asked, to deliver, to execute but somewhere not as included in the process as I should have been. That's when I felt as women we always seek empathy but that is not how it is, as a woman if you feel strongly about something, you want something to happen, raise your voice and stand up for yourself. And you will get it.
You have bagged several prestigious awards, what are the pressures and responsibilities that come with name, fame and recognition of such high order?
You must be responsible in everything that you do and the awards will follow. Credibility of words must be your foundation. The only way forward is to be doubly sure of the information that goes out to the public. And once you get recognised for your work, then it adds a whole lot of responsibility. There is a lot of due diligence for us in the media. While the awards make, you feel you great but at the end what matters for me the fact that I do good work every day, that's what keeps me going and motivates me to come to work every day.
How do you view your contributions to business journalism?
What I have achieved in my 15 years of career is the way people have started looking at business news in India. The idea was that people thought of business news as just stocks and numbers, but it is much more than that. So, that's what I tried to capture. I started doing a show on start-ups 15 years ago, when start-ups were not fancy and no one was talking about them. I put that out to the Indian Television. I believed in myself and placed a bet 15 years ago and it turned out well.
Your message to all the woman on this women's?
Just never be pulled down by anyone's words, and get out of the idea that we as women must please everyone, because no matter what you do people are going to judge you. So, it is better you do things that make you happy. We also have this habit of over thinking and taking immense pressure over small things, while it makes you work harder it puts you down emotionally. Never do that. Stay steady, stay strong and do what you want.