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Why Reliance wasn’t the biggest problem at Network18 – Caravan Magazine

by Rahul Bhatia, Staff Writer at The Caravan I spoke to an editor at one of Network18’s magazines over the phone on Thursday night. He had survived last year’s layoffs, but the cull had claimed good reporters and editors around him, hardening him to the company. Further, senior management had shown misplaced sympathy: the Firstpost editor R Jagannathan published a teacherly column soon after the layoffs, advising readers and presumably sacked employees on “ways to beat the current job gloom.” The events convinced the editor to keep his relationship with his employer strictly transactional. He would only do what was asked of him, nothing more. For a company defined by the hardy entrepreneurial spirit of its founder, Raghav Bahl, this sentiment was significant. “Now I just do my job,” the editor said. At its best, Network18 was organised and professional, and people wanted to work for it. They offered employees stock options, and their human resource department really was about people. Bahl’s wife, Ritu Kapur, was in the uncommon position of being the company’s promoter, as well as one of its television producers. Of course, people treaded lightly around her, but they couldn’t remember her pulling rank; even as Network18 grew into a mighty media company, the owners hung out with the crew. Bahl created an organisation with strong leaders, and he left them, by and large, to follow their own instincts. This was partly out of necessity—the company’s expansion spurred Bahl to gradually withdraw from journalism and production to focus on…

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Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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