As a media group, Outlook has consistently highlighted stories and issues that normally do not get media space, says Outlook’s Editor-in-Chief Ruben Banerjee at SpeakOut 2019.
Speaking at the event, Banerjee elaborated on how we at Outlook have been pursuing what we believe is meaningful journalism.
Below is the full text of his speech:
Hello and Namaskar.
It is great to be standing before you all once again at this Outlook SpeakOut event.
Like every other media house, we too do several events in a year. But this Outlook SpeakOut is special. Given the glamour and glitter, it can be mistaken as a spectacle. It is not. Our events have always had a lot of substance.
In line with our motto to do meaningful journalism, a lot of thought goes into how we mount our events. This one has been no different. It is well thought out and has Outlook’s distinctive stamp written all over it.
This event has been in the making in my head for several years. As the father of a young daughter, it always bothered me when I saw sanitary napkins being brought home rather furtively – tightly wrapped in paper and hidden from public view. But what is there to be ashamed of when it is just a natural biological process?
Change, they say, must begin from home, and I for one, was delighted when Outlook chose Menstruation as the issue of the year when 2018 turned into 2019. The year-end cover, “I Bleed For Life”, was an attempt to take taboos head on and do away with the misconceptions that are unfortunately associated with period. Many doubted our editorial wisdom. Some in fact went to the extent of accusing us of indulging in pornography. They said we should be ashamed.
On the contrary, I am very proud. I am told that we were the first among the mainstream media to have put the issue of menstruation on the cover. Many found it to be no less than a collector’s issue.
But what pleases me more is that we made a difference, or at least attempted to make a difference. That is what Outlook stands for and strives to achieve. We are not run-of-the-mill. We have consistently highlighted stories and issues that normally do not get media space. We are HATKE.
To be different is what I see as our challenge. Today’s media landscape is crowded. It is also very noisy. I have no wish to add to the noise. Noise for the sake of noise makes no sense. I want to be meaningful. We want to be heard.
That being our guiding principle, we have been pursuing what we believe is meaningful journalism. The cover on menstruation is one such. There have been many more, including our initiative on Poshan – nutrition. The Hon’ble WCD minister Madam Smriti Irani is here and she will bear me out – for the past six months, we have stayed focused on Poshan and the need for it. Malnutrition affects the health of the nation, yet it is not part of everyday conversations. We at Outlook are doing our bit – we have also launched a dedicated microsite on nutrition to break down jargons and make the issue comprehensible to ordinary people like you and me. The government has launched a noble Poshan Abhiyan initiative to fight malnutrition and we are doing our bit to contribute constructively.
This is something that is important because to us, the media’s role cannot be just adversarial, or for rabble rousing or to divide. Besides everything that we do, we also must educate and inform. A bit of moderation in the media is the need of the hour.
Today’s event is in line with what all we believe in. Women’s health, menstruation included, and women’s safety are issues that we are all concerned about. My daughter deserves a healthy safe environment. So does your loved ones. The conversations that we are having here today will hopefully amplify and will find acceptance outside. Thank you once again for coming. We truly appreciate your presence.