हम हिंदी वाले सोचते हैं कि हम लोगों के आफिसों में ही राजनीति होती है. पर सच्चाई ये है कि अंग्रेजी वाले हम से ज्यादा राजनीति करते हैं, बस फर्क ये है कि उनकी आंतरिक राजनीति में हो-हल्ला और चिल्लाहट की मात्रा कम होती है. वे स्माइल के साथ छुपी पालिटिक्स करते हैं और हम हिंदी वाले गुस्से व तेवर के साथ खुली राजनीति करते हैं. आइए आपको अंग्रेजी न्यूज चैनल टाइम्स नाऊ की आंतरिक राजनीति का हाल बताएं. टाइम्स नाऊ का मतलब होता है अरनब गोस्वामी. अरनब गोस्वामी का मतलब होता है टाइम्स नाऊ. लेकिन कई लोग जो टाइम्स नाऊ में काम करते हैं और अरनब की कार्यशैली व व्यवहार से दुखी रहते हैं, उन लोगों ने एक ग्रुप बनाकर पूरे आंतरिक हालात के बारे में टाइम्स ग्रुप के मालिकों को मेल भेजा है. एक नहीं, दो-दो मेल. वो भी आज नहीं, वर्षों पहले से भेज रहे हैं. पर टाइम्स नाऊ के मालिकों का अरनब पर इतना अंध विश्वास है कि वे मेल पढ़कर उसे ट्रैश में डालते हुए चुप्पी साधे बैठे हैं.
सुनवाई न होता देख अरनब विरोधी ग्रुप ने मेल को भड़ास के पास फारवर्ड किया है ताकि अब दुनिया जाने की अरनब गोस्वामी का दूसरा चेहरा कैसा है. भड़ास पर इस मेल को इसलिए प्रकाशित किया जा रहा है ताकि सताए-दबाए-उत्पीड़ित कर्मियों की आवाज को मंच मिल सके. मेल पढ़कर सच में आपको गुस्सा आने लगेगा कि ये अरनब गोस्वामी नामक प्राणी कितना सताता है अपने अधीनस्थों को. -यशवंत, एडिटर, भड़ास4मीडिया
Don't bring your dirty Hindi Channel politics in here : Arnab Goswami
Here is just one of the MANY kinds of feedback that has gone to the Management of TIMES NOW, which claims it is India's number one English News channel. It's difficult to imagine that even though this letter has been dated around July 2011, NOTHING has changed at TIMES NOW (we're talking July 2014 now), and Mr Arnab Goswami has been allowed to run amock and do exactly as he pleases. He's running nothing less than a torture chamber and TGBCL board is sitting back, too busy counting it's pennies?
Smt Indu Jain,
Chairperson - Timesgroup,
Whistle Blowing Committee
Times of India,
7, Bahdurshah Zafar Marg,
New Delhi 110001
Shri Samir Jain,
Vice Chairman - Timesgroup,
Whistle Blowing Committee
Times of India,
7, Bahdurshah Zafar Marg,
New Delhi 110001
Shri Vineet Jain,
MD - Timesgroup,
Whistle Blowing Committee
Times of India,
7, Bahdurshah Zafar Marg,
New Delhi 110001
Whistle Blowing Committee
Times of India,
7, Bahdurshah Zafar Marg,
New Delhi 110001
Respected Madam Chairman,
Respected Sameer Jain Sir,
Respected Vineet Jain Sir,
Members of the whistle blowing Committee,
This communication comes to you as an appeal against unending reign of bullying, intimidation, threats and blatant mismanagement by Mr. Arnab Goswami at TIMES NOW. There are no visible signs that anything has been done about his misconduct and behavior in the past, and even now it appears that there's nothing to stop him. His whimsical, autocratic style of management seems to know no bounds. The oppression is only getting worse, and the staff of TIMES NOW is at breaking point.
It's often fair of top management to believe that incidents like the ones listed below are rarities. Aberrations. The odd passing cloud on a perfectly sunny day. But in this case, the unfortunate truth is that a letter of this length could be written on the daily happenings at TIMES NOW EVERY SINGLE DAY. And each letter would bring a list of exclusive incidents. No repeats. If this letter were to be circulated among the staff of TIMES NOW, one can be sure that only 2 people would disagree with its contents.
The prevailing atmosphere in TIMES NOW is (and has been for a long, long time) one of fear, dread and insecurity. There's a despondence, a depressing lurking fear in everyone's mind about who the Editor-in-chief will suddenly target next... publicly humiliate, deride, belittle and berate for anything and everything... even that which is not part of his/her job. Mr. Goswami has thrown out every tenet of decency, fair play and ethics and replaced it with the worst kind of misconduct possible. Anger & rage are his de facto tools of management; No form of communication from him is complete without it being styled as a threat, peppered with sarcasm, dripping with personal insult. His objective is simple: sacrifice objectivity, fair play, common sense, everything and anything just to show that Mr. Goswami and Mr. Goswami ALONE knows his job... TGBCL employees are treated no different than slaves who can be abuse at will. If he's having a bad day (which is everyday actually) he has no qualms in making sure that his staff has a worse one. Add to that the blatant favoritism and astonishing lack of any kind of people/management skills, he's like the snowball rolling downhill that's taking the entire hillside with it. What does one say of an Editor in chief who quotes his grandfather at Edit meetings with pearls of wisdom like: "My Grandfather told me that the best way of getting a job done is to give it to the busiest person." Welcome to the Goswami School of Management Philosophy.
Over the years, at his own leisurely pace, Mr. Arnab Goswami has implemented a strict TINA policy. And he's brazen about it: "I can easily start my own channel and beat you guys in a matter of days" or "I'm so sick and tired of you guys I want to vacuum clean this place and start with a new bunch of people" If one looks at the attrition rates in his team and the exodus of staff since TIMES NOW's inception, one can see exactly what he means: For each existing employee, MORE THAN 2.5 have quit. In the month of June 2011 alone, more than 10 quit from the Mumbai office alone. Almost all of them have shared their real reasons for doing so: the sheer disgust with the manner in which Mr Goswami has behaved with them on a DAILY basis ("stand up when I talk to you" "What were you guys doing...sleeping?!!"What are you guys on... DOPE?!" "I'll tear you apart" "Don't bring your dirty Hindi Channel politics in here" "Do you think I was born yesterday?" "Call that F*****g B*****D XXXXXXX" etc.) These are people who'd been with TIMES NOW from the time it launched' and others who have been here for as less as 4 weeks. The eye opener: the annual increments were just around the corner, yet these people chose to quit rather than wait. That tells you the levels of desperation stalking the corridors of TIMES NOW. Incidentally, While this latest episode of the never ending Exodus was unfolding, Mr. Goswami made time to holiday in Europe.
The inability to retain talent apart, the day to day running of TN points to the most cynical, shameless cornering resources to further Mr. Goswami's personal agenda, his personal brand, his ever amplifying persona as the 'Nations voice.' Every single day, people are forced to work in a way that Mr. Goswami's primetime programme (Newshour at 9pm) gets the maximum allocation of resources and attention. The editorial team meeting starts well after Noon and carries on till at least 4:30pm. That's half a workday. The most precious, productive hours of the day lost just like that. Why 'lost' one may ask. The answer is simple: of the 4 hours that these 'edit meetings last, 80% of the time is taken by Mr. Goswami viciously humiliating, berating, belittling, demeaning his entire senior team who's attending the meeting. His single minded focus is on just one thing: show how useless, worthless, totally 'unprofessional' his subordinates are... and how he alone is managing the channel INSPITE of the sea of incompetence around him. There's neither subtlety nor polite firmness that one would expect from a person in his position of (supreme) power. Instead, what one hears is a constant diatribe of invective, insult, sarcasm, humiliating below-the-belt personal comments... pure Intimidation, threats and bullying: I'll tear you apart" "In any other organization you would have been thrown out by now" "Don't arouse the monster in me" "Don't rile me up" "Just remember: I'm right and YOU are wrong" "Who does he think he is??!! ... I'll break into his computer by 4pm today and get you all the information" “How is it that XXXX has not asked to resign yet?? Are you guys not putting enough pressure on her??!!" etc... Any effort at defending or clarifying an accusation is ruthlessly dismissed with a "don't argue with me" or "Don't answer back... I'm your editor" "This is not a debating society" "I don't have the time to sit here and argue with you" and so on. It's a daily monologue where all the frustrations and failures of the Editor-in Chief are divvied up and apportioned to the various attendees. Most people at these meetings don't even bother to respond to this daily diatribe anymore, since almost all of it leads up to him & his stunningly bad management anyway. The Goswami School of Management Philosophy probably never heard that the quest for quality begins at the TOP.... That if the top dog takes the credit, he should also bear the burden of the blame. So chaotic is the situation sometimes that the man often does not even know who to direct his rage against simply because he has no idea who handles what. And often nobody else does either; just look at the bad grammar and spelling on screen.
Anyhow, once his introductory diatribe is over, the rest of the time (about 20%) is used to quickly go through another monologue where Mr. Goswami holds forth yet again, and everyone is expected to take notes and instructions on how to put out his earth-shattering-universe-bending-creation-challenging editorial thoughts on air. It takes till about 4:30pm for this exercise in daily humiliation & dictation to get over, so there's little left to do other than get HIS stories out on air by 9pm. i.e. in the ensuing 4 hours the entire team wages an uphill struggle to turn around the stories. It's not as if he leaves them alone after the meeting to concentrate on this job. Instead, he keeps popping out of his cabin to pour his derision and scorn on the people already under so much pressure. It's thanks to this kind of behavior that one person quit in less than 4 hours of joining TIMES NOW (... and Mr. Goswami thought it was very funny and joked about it for weeks. Still does infact); There have been several cases of people breaking down and crying (...and Mr. Goswami's solution is to carry on berating them for 'being weak' and shaming them back to the job. He has a pretty good idea of who REALLY needs their job); People have openly rebelled and answered him back (But the redoubtable Mr. Goswami somehow manages to prevail, after all the employee always has the choice of leaving right? "The choice is yours"); It's a common sight to see him parked in the Newspit hurling choice abuses and insults ... some have abused/answered him right back (.. but Mr. Goswami thinks this IS the atmosphere needed to keep the place running. He's said it in as many words. He's even quoted a down and out politician to buttress his point: “If you can't take the pressure, you get out of the kitchen." The only reason why such a worthless quote gets bandied about is probably because it was recorded on HIS TRP flopper show 'Frankly Speaking') The dangerous thing about this behavior is that it has percolated down the ranks and the Nespwit is now an area where people openly abuse and hurl accusations at each other. There is no dignity or respect for anyone. Public humiliation, punctuating EVERY sentence with the foulest of abuses is the norm. And that's how it's been for a long, long time.
The direct consequence of this 'Editor-at-the-Helm' approach is that no systems have ever fallen into place. And no system is ALLOWED to fall into place. If there are any 'systems' at all, they are ones that directly and personally engage/benefit Mr. Goswami. The rest is systematically snuffed out. And so is anyone who may dare to want such systems. So the ONLY method that works: personal diktats emanating from him directly. In short, TIMES NOW is the curious mix of a corporatized, dictatorial, whimsical, command-and-administer system. Diktats and Firmans are the only way that things move in the channel ... and Mr. Goswami sits pretty, resting on his laurels, as if there really is no tomorrow without him. Even the most basic checks and balances are not in place... which is why A Justice Sawant can slap TIMES NOW with a Rs 100 crore case. AND win it too. Incidentally, NO lessons have been learnt from that incident and no corrective measures taken either. Just like in the Justice Sawant case, recently someone else's picture was run over PC Chako's voice. Here's how it apparently happened: a telephone interview of Parliamentary Accounts Committee Head, Mr. PC Chako was being aired, and the still picture made available to the bulletin Director was of someone else. So he took a call to show relevant video footage instead. But Mr. Goswami would have none of it. He stormed into the PCR spitting lines like "Are YOU going to tell me what PC Chako looks like?" "You guys don't know S**t" "You guys were born yesterday." With the Editor in Chief personally directing the bulletin, nobody had choice, better advice was overruled... and the wrong still picture was aired. It's just as well Mr. Chako is a lot more forgiving than Justice Sawant.
TIMES NOW's worst kept secret
He's spent the better part of 6 years systematically building her up to the point from where she actually overrides the entire editorial team. Her decisions (editorial or otherwise) cannot be challenged because people fear her influence over Mr. Goswami. She is the power behind the power, the proverbial blind spot, the grey eminence itself. She has to barely twitch her little finger and HE jumps like someone jangled HIS raw nerve. Sometimes it's like Mr. Goswami is HER Rottweiler. Please meet TIMES NOW's very own first couple: Mr. Arnab Goswami and Ms Charu Thakur.
Her position of primacy is of course deeply resented by the Editorial team (and beyond.) And TIMES NOW pays a heavy price for that. Part of the reason why the attrition rate is so high in Mr. Goswami's editorial team is because of his relentless effort to foist a journalistic debutante like Ms Charu Thakur upon them. It's been this way for long, and the campaign Mr. Goswami has run to ensure her position is nothing short of admirable. The past (and present) is replete with incidents where his conduct in relation to her has bordered on the laughable: He's viciously attacked the entire editorial team because SHE voluntarily decided to come in early or work late on a particular day ("where the hell were you guys?!") If production work is brought to a standstill so that Mr. Goswami's son and his entire class can be shown around personally by her, she's praised for it in glowing terms at the very next edit meeting. His profuse thanks to her every now and then is touching. She's the only one allowed to use a laptop at the edit meeting. Ostensibly to take notes and instructions for the team. But is actually nothing but a web surfing session where News stories are picked up from the Net and fed to Mr. Goswami... who then usually makes sure they are given adequate prominence. But not before he's thanked her profusely for updating him, correcting him, and (most importantly) showing once again just how out of touch his own editorial team is with the 'real News'. He says it in as many words. But here's the twist: The same stories when suggested by editorial team members (who've spent their entire professional careers on matters editorial and journalistic) are summarily shot down ("Web journalism is not what we do here OKAY??!!" "Let's have some real reporting""Justify your fancy designations""Don't you DARE bring me stories picked up from the web.") In short, at every level and every stage, Mr. Goswami has made sure that Ms Thakur is at the forefront and no opportunity is wasted in institutionalizing her supremacy. Why a person from a purely production background with no journalistic experience should BE ALLOWED to wield such authority and influence over editorial matters is beyond comprehension. She's has NO journalism background, nor is she an exceptionally talented management wonder. She understands Television Production (not journalism) and that's that. So the only conclusion that can be logically drawn is ... Maybe it's because (by their own admission) "We're friends"... 6 years they've been driving to and back from office together every day. There is no trip that Mr. Goswami has made to Delhi without her. She's the only one who's allowed to shout back at him... even abuse right back. Her's is the only cabin that he's comfortable spends hours ... Those long car drives together to office are just not long enough are they? Damn that Sea Link! It's so ridiculous that the standard explanation for his (usual) foul mood is: "He's having his period."
The unwritten law at TIMES NOW is that crossing swords with Charu Thakur is the surest way of getting thrown out. Literally. The case of a young man called J**** P***** being just ONE such. We repeat here: Just ONE such case.
Scene 1: This young man had been living in the office for months and months. That's correct. He was LIVING IN THE OFFICE for months and months, maybe even years. Mr. Goswami was well aware of the fact that Mr. P*****'s underwear was turning up in drawers used by lady staffers; that he'd been found bathing in the washrooms (where there is no shower); that his ironed clothes were being delivered to the reception everyday by the local 'Dhobi'; that food would turn up at the front office from local eateries 3 times a day; that he was found sleeping in the strangest of places in office at the oddest of hours. But NOTHING was ever done about this; On the contrary, J**** P****'s special status was confirmed by Mr. Goswami by never once bringing up his name for his 'special treatment' during edit meetings... or for anything at all for that matter, and definitely NEVER in the context of someone doing something inappropriate. J**** P***** was the proverbial elephant in the room, and the message that went out was that the Boss had no problem with anything he did.
It was an open secret as to why Mr. Goswami was so unusually tolerant and encouraging towards Mr. J**** P*****:
Mr. P*****'s mother was the principal of the School Mr. Goswami's son attends.
Disappointing behavior from the Anchor who froths in the mouth everyday exposing the 'peddling of influence' and nepotism etc... He actually makes a living out of sermonizing about exactly these things every day.
Scene 2: All was hunky dory, and anything & everything that Mr. P***** did was brushed under the carpet. Until one day, Mr. J**** P***** made the cardinal mistake of crossing swords with a favourite of Mr. Goswami's favourite. (Yes, a favourite of HIS favourite) Without getting into the specifics, Mr. J**** P***** was brutally evicted from office with the help of four bouncers. It was a tragic scene that unfolded that Sunday afternoon: J**** P***** being held down with his face pushed into the floor, one bouncer sitting on him to restrain him, another twisting and holding his hands behind his back... J**** pleading to be let go, his colleagues watching in horror... begging for leniency, but terrified at the consequences of open opposition... and then finally J**** being hauled off with his hands tied behind his back. Like some lowly criminal. It's the kind of story that Mr. Goswami's channel uses to crucify the powerful and influential.
Scene 3: The ghastly deed done, one would have thought that Mr. Goswami would feel a little chastened, maybe a little guilty, or even sheepish (?!) that things should have come to such a pass... But those are feelings hopelessly inconsistent with the Goswami School of Management Philosophy. The farce very quickly followed the tragedy. Every edit meeting thereafter featured a livid E-I-C: how he alone had the guts to take on the great Satan; How Ms Thakur was the only 'man' in TIMES NOW ("are there no men in TIMES NOW???!!!"). How dare J****'s colleagues not thank them BOTH for ridding them of this 'madman.' Why did nobody spring to the defense of this damsel in distress... Charu Thakur was suddenly the only person with REAL guts in TIMES NOW and an entire mythology was propagated where apparently Mr. P***** had threatened her, how he had mumbled under his breath, how he apparently threatened female anchors etc, etc, etc... And so it has gone on since then. Just so that nobody ever forgets what happens to those that mess with his favourite, the example of J**** P***** is held out every now and then, but more importantly, the incident (and many, many more) has been held up by Mr. Goswami as yet another example of the UNQUESTIONED BACKING he has from 'Top management' to do exactly as he pleases. And he says so in exactly those words.
Scene 4: At the time of this incident, the entertainment team had no leader and Ms Charu Thakur was showing a very, very keen interest in entertainment stories and quite desperate to extend her control over that team as well. Since HER every wish is HIS Command, a middle level production person was specially recruited to be put in charge of the entertainment team. This was to be the catspaw. Unfortunately, the reporters had made their opposition to this arrangement clear from the very beginning. They were not comfortable taking editorial decisions from a production person... that too a bossy one who had little idea of entertainment News. Enter Mr. Goswami, the knight in shining armor, savior of 'integration', Hero of the entertainment starved urban middle class. At a meeting of the entertainment team the whip was cracked; no kid gloves around here: "You saw what I did to J**** P*****..." "If you have a problem taking orders from Charu, you can get out..." etc, etc. The use of naked muscle power in office had already stunned everyone, but that was not going to stop Mr. Goswami from turning the screws on a bunch of already petrified rookie reporters... Any forum to assert ones unbridled authority; any occasion to enjoy the sadistic sight of squirming subordinates. In a matter of weeks, that entire crop of reporters had found new jobs or was looking desperately. What's more, Ms Cats paw also realized just what kind of a future she had at TIMES NOW ... and promptly did the vanishing act.
Its LITTLE WONDER
then that the staff of India's Top English News channel believes that there's a future for only 2 Careers at TIMES NOW. The future for meaningless, pompous designations however, is endless. The Goswami School of Management Philosophy teaches quite plainly: nobody should do what they're supposed to do; or what they're best at. And certainly don't let them get the feeling that they're good. Instead, disrupt. Keep rocking the boat, keep people on the edge, make them insecure, threaten them constantly so they're running scared. Never let them settle in; and most importantly, play off one against the other.
WHICH IS WHY
Mr. Goswami sees nothing wrong in viciously attacking PCR Directors for not making a story a headline or some such... something akin to firing the printing press supervisor for not making a last page story into a front page headline. The editorial team has from the beginning been placed under the watchful eye of the Production team... and so on and so forth for every department in TIMES NOW. The Production department has pretty much come to be the Securitate/KGB/Gestapo of TIMES NOW. A state within a state, something to be loathed and feared, never to be taken on and NEVER to be provoked. It's Big brother's very own iron fist, with an ear implanted in every wall... at the vanguard of the Goswami 'integration' revolution so to speak. All information collected is dutifully acted upon by the Editor in Chief, and favors doled out, depending on who the production wants to be nice to. That's another reason why the head of production Ms Thakur goes unchallenged. With active support (and the hyperactive participation) of Mr. Goswami, gossip, slander, rumor mongering are now institutionalized management tools. For example, Mr. Goswami has frequently and openly cast aspersions on, and questioned the Honesty and Integrity of the Technical team (it's head in particular, that too by name), accusing him of being CORRUPT, being 'on the take', inflating rates, influencing purchases etc, etc. He's publicly defamed the man in Edit meetings and the office in general with the entire staff looking on in wide eyed shock. Indeed, character assassination of the worst kind. The higher the person's designation, the more vicious and personal the attacks. He's had no qualms in tomtomming to the world at large that the marketing department doesn't know how to sell properties, or run campaigns, or generally do ANYTHING. Neither does Sales, distribution or anyone else for that matter. With Mr. Goswami playing witness, Prosecutor & Judge, Goebbelsian show trials are the order of the day. Judgments are already in place by the time Mr. Goswami's public show trial begins, and all he needs to do is to proclaim the guilty and loudly (and VERY repeatedly) pass judgment. In most cases, the accused is not even there, but that's a minor technicality considering that there's never any evidence either. All that's really needed is that Goswamiesque, self convinced, self satisfied conviction and belief. Accompanied by that now-famous crinkling of the nose.
Incidentally, this is exactly how problematic issues are dealt with at edit meetings or for that matter ANY meetings with Lordship Goswami. He's there to pass judgment, not hear the merits of the case, and definitely NOT there to resolve problems or set things right. The authority vested in him is meant only to repress. Whatever half-baked information exists (conveniently sourced through his trusted sources of course) is twisted to favor the only person worth favoring: Himself. Or at best, his reigning favorites. No scope for anyone to present the other side of the story or clarify.
LEST ONE FORGETS
The J**** P***** incident too easily, Mr. Goswami's often stages little side shows of his unbridled power... reminders of the UNQUESTIONED SUPPORT he gets from the top Management of TGBCL. The manner of the firing of the Hyderabad and Srinagar Reporters being a case in point. The first was fired because she had a run in with the reigning favourite-of-his-favourite. The reporter was not even accorded the dignity of being told to put in her papers in a private conversation. He simply picked up the phone, and told her to put in her papers, right there in front of the entire edit meeting, in front of her colleagues who'd worked with her for years. No questions asked, just a one line diktat. The Srinagar reporter's firing was along similar lines, except the problem was a tad more serious. TIMES NOW's editorial line has never gone down well with the separatists in Kashmir. Militants from the area had issued the Srinagar reporter a death threat and the boy had to actually go into hiding. Obviously, he was finding it difficult to go around asking the 'tough, principled, provocative' questions that the Nation...er... Mr. Goswami wanted answers to. Perhaps he conveniently forgot that it's not the same as asking his 'aggressive' questions over a satellite link sitting thousands of kilometers away from the comfort of an air-conditioned studio. In fact one wonders when it was that Mr. Goswami actually did any serious ground reporting... he's obviously quite out of touch sitting in his private 'Cuckoo land'. Anyway, no place for niceties in such situations, the reporter was fired in the same manner: A call from the edit meet, with all the reporter's colleagues sitting there, watching this brazen display of dizzying power. Mr. Goswami has since made it a point to gloat over such firings/incidents at regular intervals in the edit meetings. What's interesting here is the completely contrasting manner in which Mr. Goswami behaves when HE is at the receiving end of even the slightest amount of pressure (even if they're very far removed from death threats.) For instance, TIMES NOW once ran a we're-outraged-kind-of-story about Burger King Adverts using pictures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses sitting atop Beef burgers etc. in Spain. The story ran for a couple of hours when one Saffron Sena rep called up and threatened dire consequences if the 'offensive' pictures were shown again. Initally the Goswami bluster took over and without realising the consequences, tried to bully the rep very, very rudely. When realisation dawned a little later, Mr. Arnab Goswami personally went to the edit bay to make sure the 'offending' pictures were pulled off the air... And he's learnt his lesson well since then. Anything to do with the Senas of Mumbai and he simply steers clear. One wonders what this Titanium reinforced brave heart with his 12 bore B*lls (By his own admission. Thank you) would do if he ever received a death threat in the same manner that the Srinagar reporter had?
'You don't hit a man when he's down.' But not in Mr. Goswami's books. It's a known fact that Mr. Goswami enjoys attacking those who're the weakest: He's known to have called up employees who're in hospital to shame them into coming back to work asap, or tell them to carry office work with them. He's made people cancel their leaves midway and come back, or call people from their off days on some petty pretext... and this bullying is not limited to his conduct with just his subordinates. It extends well into, and is amplified in his editorial thought. Petty officials, minor ministers/politicians etc are all fair game. It's a standing joke in TIMES NOW about how Mr. Goswami quakes in his shoes when a certain powerful central minister calls him up every now and then to keep him in check. If it wasn't so shameful, it would actually be funny. It's not uncommon to hear Senior Editors shouting at their juniors and asking them: " What will Mr. Chidambaram say if saw this... ek minute nahin lagega Boss ko phone aane mein! ... Phir woh hamaari maarega!!" or, "Are you f*****g MAD??!!Don't you know we NEVER paraphrase Chidambaram's bites??!!" Etc, etc. And so it is with a few other politicians as well. There are the untouchables, and then there are the rest. On air, in office, publicly, Mr. Goswami likes to boast that Ministers call him up, 'begging' him for more on stories and facts... but his duplicity in targeting the weak and groveling before the relatively powerful is well known now. What's worse, while he does not have the guts to take on the truly powerful, he never stops himself from loudly condemning competing channels (on air!) for doing the same... "Being 'weak" as he calls it. It would be interesting to find out how many times he's had to rush to Delhi (sometimes on Sundays) to beg & seek apologies from the powers that be... It's probably because of this duplicity that he was singled out for a very public snub at the PMs televised press conference... or has been simply left out of others because he's recognized as a pompous, arrogant hoax. Within TIMES NOW, staffers snigger not only at this, but also the fact that he's completely petrified of some of HIS OWN reporters. The very same reporters who are close to these untouchable ministers/politicians. One particular reporter makes it a point to openly contradicted Mr. Goswami on air, and is otherwise constantly defying his authority... simply because he's close to a certain VERY influential minister. And this reporter has been getting away with it for years. All that the EIC can do is issue empty threats behind this reporter's back.
that Mr. Goswami is able to plumb newer depths everyday is possibly because of the amount of time he has on his hands. Not knowing what to do with it actually ends up wasting it on the completely wrong things... like devising ever newer means of mental torture and harrasment. He's possibly the most underemployed person at TIMES NOW: He finds the time to have a 4 hour edit meetings everyday... and guiltlessly hold up everyones work for that duration of time; He manages to sit in the newspit for hours together ... just to sadistically pour his scorn, derision and sarcasm on subordinates that he knows cannot retaliate; He then finds the time to do a full 90 minute show in the evening... put together by his hard working minions who've broken their backs working to bizarre deadlines...and then even looks suitably outraged throughout the show; He manages to take EVERY weekend off... while making sure that the rest of his staff is permanently understaffed and cannot get even take their scheduled weekly offs or even the promised 6 days off a month. Incidentally, there is no concept of hours/days-per-week norm at TIMES NOW. The HR department was forced long, long ago to bury that nugget of information, and no staffer actually knows how many hours he/she is expected to work in a week, or even how many days a month. Mr. Goswami strolls in well after Noon and is gone in less than 11 hours... contrast that with the 12-14 hour 6 day weeks his subordinates put in unflinchingly... and his constant badgering that they should be putting in even MORE hours... AND that they should come in every time there's breaking news no matter how much AFTER their shift; He even manages to take his 2 annual leaves each year... but for the rest, leave is nothing less than the holy grail... left pending till the last possible moment, often reduced drastically, or dates arbitrarily changed on some frivolous pretext or the other. And worse, once a staffer comes back from leave, Mr. Arnab Goswami singles that person out for special humiliation and insults... almost like the Employee should be sorry for having DARED to go on leave at all. But all of the above don’t come close to the MOST important and MOST time consuming activity of each working day of Mr. Goswami: the series of venomous, vitriolic rampages to whip-intimidate-bully-coerce the flagging, demoralized staff into working itself to the bone. Just so that Mr. Goswami can come out smelling of roses. Sorry if this is beginning to sound like a slave galley. These fits of rage often last up to an hour, several times a day: These are the REAL time fillers, the adrenaline peaks of the day... nobody to stop him from working himself into a froth, rampage out of control, dispense with civilities, wield unhesitatingly that God-given authority and power, throw that weight around, scream ones lungs out (it's great practice for Newshour), ride roughshod over the weak, abuse to one's heart's content, find new people to target: belittle, denigrate, besmirch, run down, slander, vilify, settle scores, smother ruthlessly any defiance or opposition... Ah!! the responsibilities of being the Editor-in-Chief!! And it is these very tantrums that have come to typify the day to day running of TIMES NOW. This is what the staff of Times now lives in constant fear of... worrying more about what Mr. Goswami is going to say in his next outburst rather than what actually needs to be done for the good of the Channel. There's no time left for higher purpose. Journalism and all else be damned. Just mindlessly follow the lodestar as he fearlessly charts the way through the enveloping darkness. Fact is, the burnt out, depressed staff of TIMES NOW has long since descended into the serfdom of a perpetual Dark Age.... Serfs who're expected to pledge their loyalty, freedom and their very souls for the glory of the esteemed Editor in Chief. They dare not consider themselves to be part of anything larger, least of all as employees of TGBCL. If there is one surprising element here, it's that how he's escaped being sued for causing mental torture and harassment.
The Shenanigans of Mr. Goswami have become the subject of gossip in competing channels to the extent that attracting talent or replacements is a serious problem. The only 'new' talent that does turn up at the doorstep is exactly that: New ... and Raw. Fresh out of college, not knowing any better, jumping at the first opportunity that comes there way. Misled by the fact that TIMES NOW is 'India's Top English News channel.' And even quicker to leave once they've gathered basic experience and at the first good opportunity that comes their way.
But again, if all of this happened with enough attention being paid to the work Mr. Goswami IS supposed to do, things may actually have been OK. But no. On EVERY project, Mr. Goswami makes sure that artificial bottlenecks are introduced. Since he is the all powerful approving authority for EVERYTHING, he willfully ensures that brakes are applied every now and then. For starters, he makes sure that there is no clear brief... only a partial list of things that he wants to see (if at all). A concrete coherent brief is something he's proved incapable of evolving by himself (or letting competent people evolve on their own.) Bossing around and vicious personal criticism that supplants all of that. His underlings may be very competent (in fact they are the ones who finally compensate for his incompetence) but are never allowed to take decisions. Even on a day to day basis... Thanks to his dog-in-the-manger attitude fuelled by a humungously oversized inferiority complex; and thus it carries on till the very last possible moment; Emails and SMSs are ignored... replies come only when he can't avoid ducking anymore... or through someone else (Read Ms Charu Thakur); And finally when there's no time left at all (sometimes well after the project is underway) big changes are demanded and once again, everyone has to work doubletime. In short, don't facilitate or manage... simply procrastinate till you can precipitate crises after crises ... all of which others can be held responsible for ("you should have thought of..." "By now you should have..."" Yaaar, why do I have to do all this...?""What do you have these fancy designations for...?""If there weren't women in this room I'd give you Hindi Gaalis.... “Etc, etc...
11th hour decisions and changes are the norm at this Temple of Goswami School of Management Philosophy... and there's good reason for it. It allows for the ruthless reassertion of authority and show just who the Boss is. The benefits of these changes are something that accrues only to Mr. Goswami. He's obviously not blind to the fact that it kills everyone else’s confidence, specially since these changes are ALWAYS implemented in rampage mode: public humiliation, derision, belittling...it makes for a pathetic existence when one is at the receiving end. This is the system that's been in place forever at TIMES NOW; and the esteemed Mr. Goswami doesn't it's a problem. On the contrary, he has trumpeted loudly that these are 'virtues' that the top management of TGBCL appreciates. As Editor-in-chief, one would expect the man to direct his team, enable, facilitate, encourage, motivate... Unfortunately, most of his time is wasted in one-upmanship over his OWN subordinates. That too in the crudest manner... Personal, rude, sarcastic, derisive, venomous insults directed non-stop at people who're just small fry anyway. Given his preoccupation with all of this, there's little doubt why he's repeatedly proved incapable of handling the quantum of work, or the pressure that goes with it. He is quite simply the single biggest bottleneck in TIMES NOW... and everyone and everything has to wait for him for EVERYTHING.
Which is why Mr. Goswami takes credit for the fact (by his own admission) that 90 percent of his time is spent cleaning up the mess created by his 'incompetent' people. It takes nothing less than an Arnab Goswami to make a stupendous failure like this one look like a victory. 7 years at the helm of affairs with an unrestrained, free hand... and he's still firefighting everyday... Does anyone realize the magnitude of his failure at building even a basic team that works? TIMES NOW wouldn't be the cesspit of Goswami-isms that it is now if he didn't waste his time screeching like a lovesick tomcat. A reflection of this failure can be seen in the fact that there's hardly a person at TIMES NOW who can claim to have a healthy working relationship with Mr. Goswami. Far from healthy, even the word 'normal' cannot be used in this regard. Even the lowest rungs don't respect the great Mr. Goswami. Drivers are usually the kind of people who HAVE to do what they're told. Recently a driver was so incensed by Mr. Goswami's behavior that he simply drove off and left him stranded. Mr. Goswami's stubborn belief seems to be that respect is DEMANDED not COMMANDED. Which is also why he's stupid enough to mistake the fear of his staff for respect. With an inferiority complex of sub continental proportions and powers that span the Galaxy, Mr. Arnab Goswami is the sure shot vehicle for the total destruction of TIMES NOW... there's no need for external competition. The tipping point is approaching fast.
To be fair to Mr. Goswami, a lack of organization & planning is not something he can be accused of in EVERY case. For example, his recent holiday to Europe. Very well planned, air miles accumulated by the thousand on official trips over the previous 6 years (traveling to Delhi and back every week what-for-nobody-knows; was this the hidden purpose?) Office resources suitably deployed on all fronts to make sure he had a comfortable journey and the best treatment for him and his relatives... So it's not like the EIC is incapable. It's just that why not abuse the system when nobody is going to question him?
Madam, Sirs, The Employees of TIMES NOW look up to each of you, and appeal for demonstrable change. Look at the TIMES NOW snap shot: its best talent long gone (chased out by Arnab's insecurities.) The possibility of recruiting real talent is bleak (Arnab's reputation as a BAD person to work with is well known.) The work environment is unbelievably bad (who likes being viciously abused every day?) A whimsical, dictatorial management system is firmly entrenched (Mr. Goswami's chosen management style for TIMES NOW.) Favoritism is rampant (The Ms Charu Thakur issue is only getting worse.) No systems are in place, and no new systems are allowed to come into place (Mr. Goswami's own little gun to management's head.)
It's a wonder that this has been allowed to go on for so long. The Employees of TIMES NOW deserve better. They have worked hard to bring the Channel to its position in the market. Despite of Arnab Goswami and his supreme authority.
We fear for what would happen to us if we disclose our identities, and therefore send this missive to you in this manner. Leaked emails & documents are a common occurrence these days. I trust that even if our identity IS found out, it will not be disclosed. Equally important, one hopes the fact that this comes as an anonymous email will not reflect negatively on the credibility of the information contained in it.
=============end of mail============================
============= 2nd mail trail starts here============
Respected Madam Chairman,
Recently, with much enthusiasm and expectation, TGBCL undertook an 'engagement Survey' of it's staff, and TIMES NOW's ENTIRE staff was part of this.
It was an online survey, and the company went to great lengths to ensure full participation of the employees... HR execs were seen carrying lists of people who had yet to fill in the online survey forms, gently reminding HoDs and other employees to fulfil their sacrd duty towards the organisation. "it's for your everybody's good" "It'll bring change" "Confidentiality is guaranteed... nobody will ever know WHAT you have filled out in the survey".... the last point being the biggest apprehension for most people... but that fear too was allayed by harnessing the good offices of the HoDs and HR itself going around and telling doubting Thomas's that under no circumstances would individual details ever be revealed. To quote their mail: "We would like to highlight that your responses are completely confidential. No one at your organization will see your individual response."
The results of this survey have now been emailed to all TIMES NOW Employees. Results have left everyone angry, dismayed, perplexed. Nobody believes that the results are anywhere near a true reflection of the reality of TIMES NOW. They're disgusted (and even ashamed) that they willingly participated in this eyewash. But survival at TIMES NOW DEMANDS optimism, and after the initial shock, these results have indeed led much mirth. At least now employees have something to laugh about heartily... what other mature reaction can be expected when he report says that the quality of service at the cafeteria is possibly the biggest threat to happiness in this journalistic paradise?
If Employees expected the results to galvanise positive change, they have received enough omens to point in exactly the opposite direction. If anything, they are ALREADY facing the penalties for having the temerity to speak their minds.
For starters, it's clear as daylight that employee confidentiality has been compromised. It turns out that Mr Arnab Goswami himself is now aware of some individual and entire departmental reponses. The editor-in-chief is of course, the only man everyone at TIMES NOW is (for some strange reason) responsible to. The consequences of these 'revelations' is already becoming apparent... To some. It's the grudges and scores that he will settle with the rest behind the scenes that's the big worry now. Mr Goswami has had seven long years to perfect the art of deriving sadistic pleasure from crushing the weak in his role as the unquestioned, unbridled, de facto head-of-everything-accountable-to-nobody Editor-in-chief.
It is reliably learnt that Mr Goswami was informed of the Survey results on 13th Feb 2012. And what has followed since then is in plain sight for all to see. Given below is a much watered down version of what has happened to just one particular department.
In the immediate aftermath of the Survey debreifing, he joked around in the Newspit that he knew exactly what had been written by at least 4 persons... and went on to name them specifically. It seemed like it was all going to be treated like one big joke, a happy necessary happenstance that nobody should really bother much about.... in fact, staffers were lulled into complacency (yes, anything is possible at TIMES NOW, even this) the very next day. At the edit meeting on 14th Feb, he turned very seriously to the only representative from the on-air promotional and packaging team ('Promos' for short) and asked her how many days off they got in a month. When she replied "Four" he demanded to know why they worked so hard... and then promptly issued a general instruction "please make sure they get their 5 days off in a month." Now, by TIMES NOW's standards, this was nothing short of earth shattering. There never is much talk from the others at these daily meetings of 20+ people (though they do have complete freedom to laught at his jokes or nod vigorously in agreement with whatever he says.) Ever seen the sight of a bunch of dumb people looking ... well...dumbstruck? Never in the history of TIMES NOW had Mr Goswami been heard asking an entire department (let alone an individual) to take more leave. In fact the ONLY words/expletives Mr Goswami has ALWAYS been heard in the context of leaves is enraged exhasperation: That staffers just take too many... and how HE himself never takes leaves. Which usually evokes a silent smirk from all who've been there long enough to see him take EVERY Saturday and Sunday off; Take two annual leaves of (at least) 10 days each a year; Come in late ever so often because of family concerns (nobody else is allowed this of course; not without severe taunting/humiliation anyway); How only he is allowed to take 2 days off for recovering from a tonsilitis attack, and emerge magically therafter without as much as a cough. etc, etc.
Anyhow, that was one interesting outcome of the Survey... But would the good times last?
By 16th Feb, he'd obviously received more details and decided that there was much to be outraged about. Being good was an exhausting proposition and it would be easier to be go back to the usual outraged-young-PM-in-the-waiting routine. Too much good had already been done, time to bring out the knuckle dusters. He promptly launched a campaign against the very same 'hard working team' Promos team. Several times in the meeting he flew into a rage about how the Promos team had 'the most grouses' against him. He went on and on about how they "complained the most".... his usual line to describe this is... and it's always in a draaaaawl "... you know whaaaaat?... those who work, will work. The rest will complain" Oddly, all of these problems with the team seem to have aisen only after the survey. Seething with rage he stormed in and out of the room several times, loudly proclaiming "75 percent of them want to resign... I WILL make them resign"
Memorable Lines in intimidation and threats like "Promos depratment mein Santa Clauz ki zaroorat nahin hai... Udhar danda ki zaroorat hai" (Promos doesn't need a Santa Clauz, it needs the stick) were also thrown about for good measure.
As if to confirm that he knew more about what had been said about him in the survey, he continued: "...there are these two (mentions specific names here) in Promos who think they're running the place... I'll throw them out before they know it. Get them off these promos right now...tell them Arnab has said so." In fact most of the time at that 4 hour edit meeting ( with a hefty attendance of at least 24 people) was wasted this way... venting spleen about how the Promos team was going to be disiplined for having the 'temerity' to complain about him.
By 20th Feb, Mr Goswami had found a new target within that nest of conspirators in the promos team. Something which as usual, needed to be exposed in the edit meeting. One of the editors had come up with a new format for Pomos, and the grandmaster of aeshtetic delights had hated it. Unfortunately for the Promos team, the same format went on air again... so once again, Mr Goswami launched into a tirade against the team, but for some odd reason he was sure that the man who was at fault had worked with UTV earlier (... and therefore needed to be exposed to be treated like some untouchable.) He lectured the Promo team rep about how serial offenders were like serial killers ... "they repeat their mistakes..." (this rule somehow does not apply to himself) "I want to know who implemented (name) grand plan." ... as if it were some conspiracy hatched to assassinate him professionally. He demanded the names of the people who'd put the Promo on air and asked for them to meet him after the edit meeting. Then he called his favourite HR exec and told her to get their CVs, to get information on the raises they'd got the last time, and what salary they joined at. For any junior level staffers, there's little that could have been more intimidating and threatening. But then being the bully that he is, Mr Goswami saw nothing wrong with behaviour, and has been enjoying this uninturrupted for 7 years now.
Later that evening, Mr Goswami deemed it fit to call in the senior members of the Production team and as he is wont to, threatened to sack them all for the way they were 'performing.' The team was repeatedly reminded of their designations, how HE had brought them to the roles they now enjoyed (!), how no other channel would have tolerated their 'incompetence', how he could get anyone at all to replace them with the flick of a finger. Nobody left that room without the distinct feeling that they had been threatened, bullied and intimidated simply for speaking their minds in the engagement survey.
The fear that grips TIMES NOW Employees is that individuals and entire departments will be now be penalised for speaking their minds. The annual performance appraisals are going on at the moment, and employees have even more reason to worry. Mr Goswami has a well established pattern and track record of targeting, bullying and hounding individuals and even entire departments. To the point where they are destroyed personally and professionally. It's an open secret that at least two women employees have suffered nervous breakdowns because of the way he treated them. Another woman employee quit because he shielded (with active connivance from HR) his old schoolmate from charges of sexual harrassment. One does not need to repeat here that the TIMES NOW has the highest turnover of people when compared to the competition... that too by a wide margin. For every Employee on the rolls today, at least 3 have quit. The exits are an ongoing prosess. In the week after the State Assembley results (6th March 2012) 4 Employees have already put in their papers.
Employees now openly talk of how their trust has been betrayed, and are extremely suspicious of exercises like these. Worse, they fear that Mr Goswami will use this 'confidential' information to settle scores during the ongoing annual performance appraisals. The facts presented above point in that direction and his track record of the last 7 years confirm this.
TGBCL needs to answer for this breach of faith and blatant lieing to it's employees, and most importantly, why it has failed consistently to reign in people like Mr Goswami inspite of his constant unprofessional and unethical behaviour.
The first mail from HR (20th Dec 2011)
We are pleased to share with you that we have received 100% participation in the Times Television Network Employee Engagement survey, conducted for us by Grant Thornton.
We take this opportunity to thank all of you for your time and cooperation in responding to this survey. Your feedback will really help us on the path to making Times Television a great place to work.
Over the next few weeks, Grant Thornton will consolidate and compile the responses provided by all of us. After an analysis of the data they will present to us their findings and results.
We plan to share the findings of the survey with you starting February 2012. We will also have combined meetings with relevant team leads, channel and functional heads and use these findings to draw up action plans for FY1 3 with clearly defined goals, responsibilities and timelines.
We look forward to your continued support and cooperation in making Times Television Network a better place to work. Thank you all once again!
The post result mail (24th Feb 2012)
I want to thank you for your participation in the Times Television Network – Employee Engagement Survey 2011.
The response has been overwhelming, with 100% employees taking the survey, the first for any organization. Congratulations to one and all on this fabulous turnout!!
I would like to share the good news that the overall Employee Engagement Score for Times Television Network has been 70%, which is better than the industry average of 67%. This really means that most employees are fully involved in and enthusiastic about their work. They deliver on commitments, take accountability for their actions and are willing to go the extra mile for the organization.
At a network level the following emerged as findings of the survey:
1. Key Strengths:
a) Times Television Network Brand - Employees believe that the organization keeps its promise on high quality of output and on time delivery. We have scored 75% as against the Industry average of 65%.
b) Manager – Managers provide support for employees to perform well and develop a positive team atmosphere. We scored 76% as against the Industry average of 65%.
c) Senior Leadership - Strong and accessible senior leadership which is poised to take the organization to the next level. We have scored 72% as against the Industry average of 68%.
d) Co-workers - Cooperation and respect between colleagues exists within the workgroup. We have scored 78% as against the Industry average of 79%.
e) Job Content - Employees feel that their work gives them enough challenge and makes an impact on the organization’s success. We have scored 70% as against the Industry average of 74%.
2. Focus Areas for Improvement for the current year
a) Canteen facilities as well as recreation and relaxation options.
b) Resources, including tools and people resources.
c) Improving the Training and Development process across the organization to help employees perform better in their current roles and develop themselves to take on future roles.
d) Driving communication and consistency in implementation of Organization Systems and Policies.
e) Promoting Work Life balance through flexibility and innovative ideas.
As the next step, you will hear from your respective channel/ department heads on the key findings and the action areas thus identified for your respective channels/departments.
We will keep you updated on the improvement initiatives taken as part of the Employee Engagement exercise.
Thank you once again for your time and inputs for making us a better work place!