In the noise that passes for Indian media today, there are some journalists who have not only stayed true to the profession but also consistently delivered important and relevant news. And among these journalists, are women who have become an inspiration for aspiring journalists and gone above and beyond their call of duty. Like these:
1. Faye D’Souza
Undoubtedly one of the most recognized faces of Indian journalism, Faye D’Souza started her career in journalism with All India Radio. D’Souza, who won the 2018 RedInk Award for ‘Journalist of the Year’, rose to fame as the anchor for The Urban Debate on Mirror Now. In 2019 she quit Mirror Now to start her independent channel. She has constantly called out inaction by government figures over corruption, religious intolerance, and incompetent governance.
2. Rana Ayyub
Rana Ayyub started her career as an investigative journalist with Tehelka. Under Tehelka, one of her most famous assignments was to uncover political cover-ups, if any, of the 2002 Gujrat riots. Though Tehelka did not publish her findings, she authored the book Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up of Godhra Train Burning on the basis of her findings. She was rewarded the most Resilient Global journalist at the Peace Palace in Hague in 2018 and also received the McGill award for journalistic courage in 2020. She resigned from Tehelka to protest the organization’s handling of a sexual assault charge by a fellow journalist. Currently, she is associated with The Washington Post as a Global Opinions Writer.
3. Nidhi Razdan
Author of the book, Left, Right and Centre: The Idea of India, Nidhi Razdan started her career with NDTV and is currently an executive editor with them. She has been awarded the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism, International Press Institute award for excellence in journalism, and the Teacher’s Achievement Award (TAA) for Communication.
4. Shaili Chopra
Founder of SheThePeople.TV–India’s first platform for stories on women–Shaili Chopra has worked with NDTV-profit and ETNOW and authored four books. She has covered events like the G-20, WEF@Davos, and was also one of the reporters to report live from outside the Taj Hotel during the 26/11 attacks. In 2012, she won the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Business Journalism.
5. Madhu Trehan
Founding editor of news magazine India Today, Madhu Trehan started her career by working in the press department of the United Nations. In 1977, she handed over the stewardship of the company to her brother, and in 1986, she produced and anchored India’s first video magazine, Newstrack. She is also one of the founders of Newslaundry.
6. Shereen Bhan
Shereen Bhan is synonymous with corporate and economic news in India. Bhan, who started her career as a news researcher with Infotainment television, is currently the Managing Editor of CNBC-TV18. Over an 18-year-long career, Shereen has produced and anchored prominent shows like Young Turks, India Business Hour, The Nation’s Business, etc. She is the recipient of the 2005 ‘FICCI Woman of the Year’ award and the World Economic Forum named her as one of the Young Global Leaders of 2009.
7. Sharda Ugra
To date, sports journalism remains a largely male-dominated field. But Sharda Ugra was one of the first journalists to break this particular glass ceiling. Despite the struggles she faced at the start of her career, she continued on. Today, 23 years later, she is a senior editor with ESPNcricinfo and a leading face of sports journalism. She also called out the prevalent sexual harassment in Indian sports.
8. Patricia Mukhim
A Padma Shri recipient, Patricia Mukhim is the editor of The Shillong Times, who is also known for her work as a social activist. Her work has predominantly focused on the socio-political milieu of Meghalaya. She has won several awards, including the Chameli Devi Jain award, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry FLO award, Upendra Nath Brahma Soldier of Humanity award, Siva Prasad Barooah National award, and North East Excellence award.
9. Gauri Lankesh
Late Gauri Lankesh started her own weekly magazine Gauri Lankesh Patrike. A journalist-turned-activist, Lankesh often spoke against caste-based discrimination, campaigned for women’s rights, and was strongly critical of Hindu extremism. She was assassinated on September 5, 2017, and her assassination was condemned by the public and the government.
10. Homai Vyarawalla
India’s first female photojournalist, Homai Vyarawalla was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2011. Her photos were initially published under her husband’s name, and later, under the pseudonym of ‘Dalda 13’. She initially worked for The Illustrated Weekly of India magazine. Later, she worked with the British Information Services. However, in 1970, she gave up photography citing unprofessionalism in the new generation of photographers. She was also honored by the Chameli Devi Jain Award.
These women broke through gender-barriers and their work allowed more voices to be heard.