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No gloss, only hard facts for ZEE News

By , agencyfaqs! | In | August 06, 2003
The pioneer of news on C&S television in India believes in getting it first and bang on target every time


What is a news channel without news? For ZEE News, while hardcore news drives its core programming strategy, the key thing is to be there first and get it bang on target every time. As Laxmi Goel, director, news group, ZEE Telefilms, asserts, breaking news is the "key differentiator" for the channel. "We are the frontrunners in breaking news," he proclaims.

If breaking news provides ZEE News with that much-needed edge, investigative journalism is another key differentiator for the channel. Apart from day-to-day bulletins on "issues connected with people", a sizeable chunk of the channel's non-news programming include shows such as Special Correspondent, Inside Story, ZEE Follow-up and Crime File that are devoted to exposing the seamier side of reality or uncovering hidden agendas, highlighting social stigmas or revisiting issues that have faded from public memory.

The August 2 episode of Special Correspondent (telecast at 9.30 pm), for instance, dealt with the eunuchs of Maharashtra while the August 3 episode of Inside Story (telecast at 9.30 pm) was a dramatic expose of the adulteration of milk by dairies that supply their products to vendors based in Delhi, Bangalore and Haryana. "We caught on tape ingredients such as Sunsilk shampoo and urea being added to the milk and how such synthetic milk passes six lacto-tests without detection," says Alka Saxena, editor and head of programming, ZEE News.

The time band between 7.00 pm and 12 o' clock at midnight are prime hours for the channel with branded bulletins and key shows slotted during this time frame. On weekdays, prime hours begin with the one-hour bulletin titled Hindostan Hamara at 7.00 pm with a special emphasis on small towns.

This is followed by News at 8, and Metro News at 8.30 pm, the last capsule of which varies from day-to-day with Showreel telecast on Mondays, Style on Tuesdays, Corporate Jagat on Thursdays, Health on Fridays and Wheelocity on Saturdays.

News at 9 is followed by Prime Time at 9.30 pm, and Din Bhar at 10.00 pm, which is a one-hour round up of the day's events and highlights interspersed with soft stories. This is followed by World View at 11.00 pm with a three-minute entertainment capsule titled Manoranjan at 11.27 pm and finally, a half-hour bulletin titled Iss Waqt. "We don't want to restrict ourselves to the metro cities. Our aim, quite clearly, is to fan out into the smaller towns and get people involved from across the country," says Saxena.

Saturdays and Sundays are time for weekend shows including ZEE Follow-up at 7.30 pm on Saturdays, Encounter, the only interview-based show at the same time on Sundays, Special Correspondent at 9.30 pm on Saturdays, Inside Story at the same time on Sundays and Crime File at 10.30 pm on Saturdays.

Cinema A to ZEE, a half-hour entertainment programme, Beyond Headlines, a bulletin focusing on stories that are lost in the rumble of daily headlines and Pehal, a 15-minute capsule focusing on the work of small-time NGOs add variety to the channel's Sunday line-up, telecast at 11.00 am, 1.00 pm and 2.45 pm respectively.

An innovative concept during the morning hours - at 8.30 am through the week - is the telecast of News Top 10, a synopsis of 70 headlines capsuled in half an hour comprising seven segments including Headline Top Ten, Mumbai Top Ten, States Top Ten, Delhi Top Ten, World Top Ten, Sports Top Ten and Life Top Ten. "The idea germinated from the fact that people are normally in a haste in the mornings with most rushing to work. The requirement, therefore, is for something quick and snappy, which is what Headlines Top Ten aims at doing," says Saxena.

Detailed business bulletins at 6.00 pm on weekdays coupled with regular sports and business updates during normal news bulletins add depth to its overall programming. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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