Always Strive to Maintain Balance - Annie Banerji


Read more, expose yourself to more than what is presented to you and find out what’s on the other side. Otherwise, biases creep in and show in your journalism.



1. Tell us about your background and journey.

I studied English Literature from Miranda House, Delhi University and then pursued journalism at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi from where I got placed to the Press Trust of India.

I worked there as a trainee journalist for about two weeks before I joined Reuters News as an editorial assistant, a role where I learned the ropes of wire-style writing and journalism that caters to an international audience.

After about two years, I got an opportunity at Agence-France Presse (AFP) where I covered South Asia, including the deadly 2015 Nepal earthquake and the Rohingya refugee crisis. And now, I’m the South Asia correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a multimedia position in which I report on everything from women’s issues, LGBT+ rights and trafficking/slavery to climate change impacts on vulnerable communities.  


2. What is your opinion about press freedom in India?

It could definitely be much better – muzzling of journalists and reprisals over certain news reportage are very much a reality still.


3. What do you think about the quality of journalism in India and how can it be improved?

It would be unfair on my part to give a broad-brush, generalized take given the diversity of journalism in India – different local, regional, national news, in various languages, with certain leanings, political or otherwise. I’m not well-acquainted with more than half to make an well-balanced, educated comment.

But one thing journalism, not only India, can do more with is balance. Show the whole picture - both sides of the coin – to your audience. 


4. What is your message to all aspiring journalists?

Read more, expose yourself to more than what is presented to you and find out what’s on the other side. Otherwise, biases creep in and show in your journalism. Always strive to maintain balance.

5. If you could interview one famous person, who would that be and why?

Annie Besant. Not only was she a prominent women’s rights activist, theosophist and reformer, but also a strong figure in India’s national struggle for freedom. Plus, I was named after her.

6. Which is your favorite book and why?

I’m still a major fiction reader. So, I think it would have to be Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It’s an enthralling story set during the Nigerian Civil War. 

Perhaps it was the time that I read it that the novel really stuck with me, but I also found the writing, depiction of characters and language relatable, evocative and lucid.  


Interview by - Mahi

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