NewsX launch in limbo as six more editorial heads quit

Written by Vikram Chaudhary | New Delhi, Feb 1 | Updated: Feb 2 2008, 06:30am hrs
In a late (Thursday) evening development, six key editorial hands have bid adieu to NewsX, putting a question mark over the impending launch of the English news channel from the INX Media stable. Among the people who have quit are second-in-command Avirook Sen (executive editor), Prakash Patra (news coordinator), Rajesh Sundaram (domestic news head) and Narendra Nag, who has been associated with the group since the time the news channel was conceived. Arun Roy Chowdhury (consultant, whose contract runs out this week), and Kailash Menon, who was to anchor an auto show on the channel, have also left.

Earlier this week, NewsX announced that Vir Sanghvi, chief executive officer of the channel will be putting in his papers. In a prepared statement, the company said that the decision was mutually agreed upon. His services ended on January 29, 2008. According to executives close to the development, 188 people were hired for the channel of which eight left earlier this week and another 60 anticipate they will be eased out. When asked about the resignations, Indrani Mukerjea, chairperson of the INX Media Group said, They have not quit but we have done a bit of restructuring. She added, We will get a new news room head next week and hopefully launch the channel by March.

When asked about the list of 60 people, she said it was untrue and that no one else, especially in the middle and junior levels, would lose their jobs. In an internal communication, Mukerjea has also said, We have heard that some unfriendly sources are trying to cause concern in the minds of professionals who come from print background Nobody needs to be apprehensive of the future or worry about their positions or career in NewsX here on.

In any case, if Narendra Nags resignation letter posted on his website, is anything to go by, all these resignations may be the fallout of problems brewing for quite some time.

The letter says, In recent times, I have seen, with increasing dismay, the manner in which this organisation has been run: The scant regard for journalists is only the tip of the iceberg