I can proudly say that I was the first television journalist to start work from Goa, till then Channels from Mumbai & Delhi only sent their camera team and reporters for any major news event happening here. A decade later today its great that we have a number of local television channels and a 12 hour news channel as well. In that regard Goa Newsline was our first major step towards setting up of this industry in Goa. After 2 years of Newsline a number of other channels had jumped into the news making fray and the rest as you all know is there for all of us to see.
I completed my Masters Degree in Communication studies from the Department of Communcation Studies University of Pune as there was no Journalism related course in Goa then. After that I interned with Zee News Noida and underwent practical training in Electronic News Media . Thereafter I joined Asian News International (ANI) and joined them as a Correspondent Camera-person for the state of Goa. Thereafter I joined Aaj Tak and worked for them as their Goa Correspondent, My father Mr. Waman Prabhu is also a journalist and was in the print media.
As the electronic media fever caught up he joined Zee News as Goa Correspondent and together we covered Goa in all its splendour for these national channels. In this entire process there was a feeling that Goa was not being given due coverage on National TV and all the snippets that were shown of Goan Festivals and Events were not doing justice to the actual event. There was so much that was happening in Goa yet the national channels were just not interested. All that mattered to them was the Goan Carnival Christmas and New Year in Goa.
And we all know that there’s so much more that the rest of the country needs to know about Goa. That was the time when the thought of a Goa News Channel crossed our minds and we both along with my younger brother Pravesh went ahead with a Goa News Channel. It was a tough exercise. Covering Goa for national channels was completely different.. for a local news channel the same had to be done in a local perspective. We started with a half an hour news bulletin which covered all aspects of the state the political,social,religious and sports aspect of Goa. It was Feb 2002 Goa Newsline was a valentine gift to the people of Goa.
Because till then they could only rely on the erratic Doordarshan round up of events which happened every week. When we started Newsline we opted for Konkani as our news language because it was a language tht could connect us to the people of Goa. It was sheer hard work because our effort was to deliver todays news today-all over Goa. We wanted the people could watch the news at home before they read it on the papers the next day,that was the USP of our news. We dealt with time constraints as there was no highend editing software at that time with us.
But yet we managed fine all the morning/ afternoon events were incorporated in our news bulletin. Yet another hurdle that we faced was initially people were reluctant to air their views on Camera, the concept looked good on national tv but it was difficult to accept it initially. Politicians too hesitated over how and what they spoke on local tv but gradually the transformation took place And once the news began there was a flood of appreciation that motivated us to perform better. We had no high end machinery and no spacious studio.
Yet we had to deliver CD’s to over 23-24 locations everyday at a given time and the manpower—just the three of us. My father wrote the newsscript, Pravesh did the shoot and edit on camera and I read the news and pitched in for the filming of events as well. It was an effort that met with a lot of praise and also its share of criticism. I am glad that happened then as we complete ten years of Newsline this February. Goa Newsline was what everybody living here needed because audio visual media has its own power –the power of delivering an event happening in some place of Goa that you can relate to right in your home.
It was a novelty in the beginning and we had endless lists of people who wanted us to cover their events -some interesting some trivial. It wont be wrong to state that Goa Newsline started the chapter of Electronic TV Journalsim in Goa and that it continues to have a loyal viewership in this day and age of Direct Transmission to Homes like Dish TV etc. It’s a challenge now to maintain the erratic cable connections when you have a no hassle set top box installed on your tv providing you crystal clear transmission but people here have still maintained their cable connectitons nly to watch the news programmes that are aired on these cable channels. So in a way it is also right that the cable industry in Goa is surviving on the hefty fees that these channels pay them and the connections which have not yet been replaced by Dish TV for the sake of Goan News updates. I feel the cable network industry should in turn protect the interest of the news channels in order to strengthen the chances of their survival.