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Updated on May 27, 2009 02:50 PM IST

A career in the television industry requires a lot of legwork but a new story unfolds every day and there is no room for boredom. Here's Suhasini Haidar in conversation with Vimal Chander Joshi.

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HT Image
Hindustan Times | ByVimal Chander Joshi, New Delhi
When Suhasini Haidar was doing her Bachelor's in statistics from Delhi’s Lady Shri Ram College, she had no idea that she'd become

A day in the life

10.00 am: Goes to work

10.30 am: Plans the day, reads newspapers and works on ideas

11.30 am: Calls various sources and getsupdates on different issues and to know the real story

1.30-2.00 pm: lunch time

2.00 pm: Fixes up the guest list for those invited on her shows

6.00 pm: Files stories whenever needed

a journalist. A bit of "friendly" assistance to a documentary filmmaker in the final year of college got her career set on a different track altogether. During those film shoots, she realised electronic media suited her. The same year, she went to study for a Masters in journalism from Boston University, which landed her a job with CNN, New York.

Now working with CNN-IBN as a deputy foreign editor, she still reports on international and political news like any cub reporter. “One has to report and file stories even if you are at a senior position. Though I have grown in terms of designation in the last 15 years, but the nature of work is more or less still the same,” she says.

Life is replete with excitement and surprises for her almost every day. At the same time, it's "dusty" owing to a lot of legwork involved in the profession. A new story every day and the adrenaline which flows keeps her going. There is no room for boredom. One day, it's the electoral churning and upheaval after the Lok Sabha elections and the next day it's the big story on LTTE’s Prabhakaran.

Industry overview

The Indian media and entertainment industry stood at Rs 584 billion in 2008, a growth of 12.4 per cent over the previous year. Over the next five years, the industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of 12.5 percent to reach Rs 1052 billion by 2013, a FICCI & KPMG report on the sector says Advertising spends grew at CAGR of 17.1 per cent in the past three years. Going forward, it is expected to exhibit a robust growth rate at CAGR of 12.4 percent over the next five years

Regular updating and reading on different topics is a vital cornerstone in Suhasini's normal day. “It's very important to stay abreast of national and international issues both,” she says.

When she started her career in 1994, she sometimes used to miss stories. “One has to be at the right place at the right time. With so many news channels opening, one has to survive the fierce competition with agility,” she adds.

The profession is meant for extremely dynamic people who are mentally and physically tough. Haidar has exhibited these traits on several occasions – reporting on Kashmir militancy in July 2000, on 9/11 in 2001 and while covering the Lebanon firings in 2006. She broke her arm in Kashmir – but is undaunted. “One can get unsafe anywhere,” she reasons.

Having reported on Pakistan's political scene for long, she has been witness to several developments in our neighbouring country – from Benazir Bhutto's assassination to Musharraf's stepping down as the president. She also has preferences... Going out of Delhi to “dig out new and interesting stories.”

When Haidar was sent to Lebanon three years ago she was given just half-an-hour to make the necessary travel arrangement before boarding a strictly-for-males Indian Navy warship. Despite all these challenges, there is also some good “news” for female budding journalists. “Being a woman, the people I approach are not usually rude to me. Female journalists get easy access everywhere,” she declares.

A famous face on national television, Haidar says she has never been mobbed – strange, as she is quite the head turner.

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