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THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 12 SEPTEMBER, 2014

INDIA TODAY'S PURIE KEEPS BUSY WRITING LETTERS, THIS TIME WELCOMING RAJDEEP SARDESAI

Too many options, too few editors!


NEW DELHI: India Today editor-in-chief Aroon Purie has been busier than usual writing long letters of welcome and goodbye in a fairly short span of time. Just after he bid goodbye to Shekhar Gupta, Purie has written a letter to television journalist Rajdeep Sardesai welcoming him on board as Consulting Editor in his multi-media group that includes the television channel Headlines Today.

Sardesai, according to Purie’s letter, will “to start with” do a marquee show for the TV channel and “contribute to the revamp of the Channel and its alignment with digital.” Sardesai was the founding member of the CNN-IBN channel but had to leave after the Ambani’s and Reliance took over. He has since been rumoured to have been in negotiations with Purie and others, with the deal being clinched now that Gupta has virtually left.

“I know you will hit the ball out of the park for Team India Today. All the best in your innings,” Purie wrote in his letter welcoming Sardesai. Journalists seem to be taking the enthusiastic words with more than a dose of salt, given the fact that seniors like MJ Akbar and Shekhar Gupta had also received fulsome praise from Purie and promise of a long working relationship that did not materialise. Gupta in fact set a record of sorts by lasting as the editor-in-chief and vice chairman of the India Today group for just over two months.

Officially Shekhar Gupta also continues as a consulting editor but the journalist grapevine claims that he is in talks with CNN-IBN having a good working relationship with the Ambani’s. However, these rumours remain unconfirmed with Gupta also said to be seriously considering starting his own broadcasting company.

Significantly, all keeping a hawks eye on the Indian Express for signs of a melt down after Gupta’s exit find that the newspaper has not suffered since. Senior scribes in fact even insist it has “improved” although this could be just part of the dog eat dog profession that journalism has turned into. However, given the fact that Rajkamal Jha who now edits the Indian Express and was said to be Gupta’s right hand at that time was running the show even then this comes as no surprise to insiders. Jha was slated to leave with Gupta for India Today but did not accepting the management’s offer to stay back as the editor of the Indian Express. He must certainly be happy about the decision now, given the fact that the several reporters who left to join Gupta on high salaries in India Today are now worrying about the security of their jobs.

Purie, again according to the never silent journalist grapevine, is not very happy at the huge increase in the salary budget , hiked by Gupta to accommodate the Express journalists at far higher salaries. More so, as he is presently trying to revive his losing flagship the India Today magazine that is bleeding under the weight of the electronic and internet media.

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