by LAUREN CODLING
A BBC news station in Gujarat launched its first TV bulletin on Monday (16), as its editor said he hopes the “inspiring” outlet will motivate audiences.
Ankur Jain, 34, is the editor for the BBC Gujarat service. The organisation’s first Gujarati language news bulletin, BBC Samchar, will be presented by news anchors Archana Pushpendra and Mihir Raval.
It is expected to be broadcast live five days a week from Delhi.
The move is part of the BBC World Service expansion, which has seen four new language services launched online in India – Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi and Telugu.
The BBC News Gujarati website, which began prior to the state elections last year, received a “tremendous” response from users, Jain said. While most other networks widely covered the election and opposing parties, they decided to tackle the story from a different angle.
“It was appreciated by the audience,” Jain told Eastern Eye. “We did some fantastic campaigns like Gujarat on Wheels, where four female bikers travelled across the state to discuss women’s issues as the election drew closer. We got some great stories through those journeys.”
Although the station is keen to target a young audience, Jain believes the digital and TV audiences will differ.
The bulletins, he explained, will focus on the importance of events happening across the day globally. It will feature local Indian and international stories, as well as trending topics, sports, entertainment, business, health, education and women’s interests.
“We are aiming to wrap up interesting and inspiring stories from across the world,” he said. “We are looking at a bulletin that is 24 minutes long where audiences can not only see what has happened during the day, but be inspired and motivated.”
A Gujarati himself, Jain’s journalist aspirations began when he delivered newspapers after school as a young boy.
He hoped to eventually write content for the newspaper and began to send his own articles to publications in his state. “They started getting publishing and I really enjoying seeing my byline,” he recalled.
In 2005, he landed his first job in the media as a trainee reporter for the Indian Express. He worked in various news outlets, including The Times of India for eight years, before moving to the BBC in 2014.
Jain said he especially enjoyed working at the BBC as it ensured impartiality and fairness in how it reported on everything.
“Working for the BBC has been fantastic. The journalistic freedom and the amount of time and resources one can invest on a story… I haven’t seen that in my career,” he said. “What I enjoy most is the editorial freedom that every BBC journalist has.”
The BBC’s Gujarati news bulletin will be shown on partner station GSTV at 8pm IST