the-south-asian.com January 2003
JANUARY 2003 Contents
his new assignment as the
Managing Editor of
Peace in South Asia
" ... aggressive secularism is the only way for multi-ethnic societies in south Asia to achieve progress."
Raju Narisetti was recently appointed Managing Editor of the Wall Street Journal Europe. Just before he left for Brussels, 'the-south-asian' 'E-interviewed' him, and below is the text of our 'E-conversation'. Born in Hyderabad, India, he joined the WSJ in 1994, and within a span of eight years rose to head the WSJ Europe.
What does the new assignment mean to you?
It is a great opportunity to not only maintain the momentum that the Wall Street Journal Europe has had over the past few years--both in terms of circulation and quality of journalism--but also enhance coverage of Europe and the rest of the world by taking advantage of WSJ's global reporting and editing staff. Its an opportunity to work with some of the best journalists in the business and compete against the likes of the Financial Times and the International Herald Tribune in their backyard.
What are you looking forward to - the most? (in terms of your new assignment)
Europe! It is at a major crossroads and there is no better time to not only be there but also be in charge of reporting on Europe.
Is it a career you had planned for?
I had always wanted to work at a major business paper like the WSJ and over time also felt that it would be a lot of fun to manage/run a newspaper. I had not planned my career with that goal in mind. If you focus on the product (stories) and the customers (readers) and enjoy what you are doing, the other rewards will follow.
Do you have any changes in mind - in terms of editorial policy etc.
Provide more in-depth, analytical coverage of Europe not only for readers of WSJE but also for the rest of WSJ editions. The editorial page is a separate entity from the news side that I will be responsible for in Europe.
In your view, are there any major differences in the quality of journalistic reporting between the west and the south Asian countries? Is one more honest/balanced than the other etc?
On an individual level, i have found little difference between journalists I used to work with in India and the journalists I work with in the U.S. and in Europe. There are clearly more resources and opportunities in the US--thanks to the first amendment, for instance--and news reporting is somewhat more balanced than I sometimes find in Indian newspapers. But journalism is as vibrant in India as it is anywhere else.
Can media perform a more positive role towards peace in south Asia?
I don't buy the premise that media performs a negative or positive role toward peace. Good journalism is a mirror that reflects what is happening in the society and it is not up to journalists to think in terms of positive or negative while reporting news. I would leave that to the editorial page writers and opinion columnists.
What, in your view, should be a step towards peace in south Asia?
A continued emphasis on democratic values and the willingness of Governments to spend on education and literacy.
Which of the two is a stronger force - secularism or fundamentalism?
Fundamentalism will always have its moments but aggressive secularism is the only way for multi-ethnic societies in south Asia to achieve progress.
Any people who inspire you?
I have had several mentors both in India and in the U.S. I wouldn't be where I am today without the inspired teaching of Prof Thomas Oommen who now runs the Manorama school of communication in Kottayam and who taught me a tremendous amount about writing and reporting at the Times of India School of Journalism in Delhi. Then there is TN Ninan (then editor of the Economic Times) who took a chance on a novice journalist. I owe a lot to both of them.
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