Barkha Dutt moves out of NDTV, we look back

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As the disengagement of Barkha Dutt from NDTV is announced, we bring you a brief profile of one of India’s preeminent journalists.

After 20 years at NDTV, Barkha Dutt is moving out to start her own “multi-media content company and policy group”. However, she will continue to anchor NDTV’s “The Buck Stops Here” on weeknights and “We The People” on weekends.

Dutt’s disengagement was announced by the promoters of NDTV Prannoy and Radhika Roy in a letter to the employees.

Dutt was one of the first female reporters to join the then fledgling medium of TV journalism. She was 23 when she joined her now equally illustrious colleagues Rajdeep Sardesai and Arnab Goswami in the NDTV newsroom.

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She is the daughter of the eminent Hindi journalist Prabha Dutt, who was a pioneer among women journalists in India.

Dutt graduated in English literature from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and received a master’s in mass communication from Jamia Millia in New Delhi. She later also obtained a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

While she earned her spurs largely as a political reporter, it was her frontline reporting on the Kargil war, eclipsing her male colleagues, that won her admirers and national attention. In the 2004 film, Lakshya, the character played by Preity Zinta, that of a news reporter, was broadly modeled on Dutt.

She made a deep impact with her extremely sensitive reporting of the 2004 Tusnami which badly scarred the South-Eastern coast of India.

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In 2008, she was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilian honours.

She, however, blotted her copybook somewhat with the revelations of her conversations with political leaders in the Radia Tape expose. The audio recording showed her in conversations with politicians, which was perceived to go beyond the ambit of journalistic jurisdiction. Dutt apologised over the issue saying it was “an error of judgement” on her part, but vehemently denied any wrong doing.

While the Radia tapes episode did dent her to an extent, without a doubt Dutt remains one of India’s preeminent TV journalists.