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The news of Arnab Goswami’s resignation sent tremors across newsrooms. Social media however, went berserk. It was a loss that seemed unfathomable. Twitter felt it had lost one of its favorite journalists that it enjoyed lampooning. Without Arnab, there could be no jokes. Without Arnab, there could be no throw-your-head-back-and-laugh-till-your-stomach-hurts GIFs. Without Arnab there could be no home-made videos featuring his unforgettable dialogues that could go viral.
A decade ago, no one would have guessed that Arnab Goswami will rise to power at this scale. Without warning, he became the self-proclaimed mouthpiece for the nation. He revamped the landscape of journalism in India. The traditionalists refused to acknowledge Arnab’s brand of journalism. The Newshour, Arnab’s carefully crafted show, was TimesNow’s rendition of saas-bahu episodes, where Arnab played the protagonist. His journalism was the kind that involved blaring on the television screen, imposing his opinions onto his viewers while refusing to allow his panelists speak. In a way, it’s good that the pioneer of popcorn journalism has resigned. The country, however, it seems, cannot accept it — and neither can TimesNow.
Over the last two days, the channel has been flashing, “Arnab will be back tomorrow night” to placate a growing tribe of viewers who worship him, and perhaps itself. One wonders what would happen to the channel? At TimesNow, Arnab meticulously sculpted his image as a news demigod for Indian audiences, metamorphosing into a brand. He accumulated a viewership of inimitable scale and has been regarded as one of the most influential journalists. Up until now, TimesNow piggy-backed on his ride to success. Now that he is leaving the channel, a move that seems unprecedented and unfathomable, what will happen to TimesNow — a channel whose identity is inextricably linked to its star anchor? Undoubtedly, the channel will face grave repercussions.
While some breathe a sigh of relief that Arnab has resigned, many enjoy the intelligent jokes twitterati is cracking on social media. Arnab hasn’t quit journalism though. He intends to return with a full swing with a brand new channel. If he succeeds, that might be the death knell for Indian broadcast journalism. And he’ll make sure it ends with a bang, not a whimper.