Sumit Pande is the Political Editor of CNN-IBN, a 24x7 English news channel in India. He is on a sabbatical for two terms- Hilary and Trinity- at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Oxford University.
In his current capacity, Sumit heads the political bureau at CNN-IBN. His job profile includes managing news content and its flow from the input side. He guides journalists in the bureau on content generation and presentation. News management notwithstanding, he continues to be an active field reporter.
Sumit has in the past worked with Zee News and Eenadu TV. He extensively covered politics, especially electoral politics, in his initial years as journalists. He covered the 2002 Iraq war for Zee News.
Sumit joined CNN-IBN in 2005 and in the last one decade has reported on both politics and government. His area of interest- reflected often in his reports- has been politics of governance and its impact on socially backward sections of the society, women, children and religious minorities.
Sumit was awarded the Inclusive Media Fellowship by the Centre for the Study of Development Societies (CSDS), New Delhi in 2010. Based on an extensive field work in central and northern parts of the country, he wrote a series on Agrarian Crisis and the Plight of De-notified Tribes (Formally Criminal Tribes of India).
Sumit holds a bachelor’s degree in science. An alumnus of Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, he specialises in Radio and TV Journalism. He also holds a master’s degree in journalism.
Social media as a tool of communication has added yet another variable to the larger matrix of electioneering in world’s largest democracy. Using new media, political parties in India are experimenting in their attempt to reach out to the electorate. The medium per se and social media in particular is enabling politicians to exploit multi-dimensional communication tools on the net. From political donations to talking points for elections rallies, online voter-input is being sought to model campaign strategies, policies and programs. The emphasis on the new media in communication is transforming the entire political discourse, both in content and style.
In the changing paradigm, is social media making world’s largest democracy more participatory? How does this transformation auger for a socially diverse milieu of the Indian polity? Does this phenomenon fuel majoritarian tendency in a representative democracy with vast disparities at every level- social, economic and technological? Is participatory or direct democracy the panacea to the ills of and lacunae in the current system? And finally is social media and web the great leveler as it is made out to be?
These are the few questions Sumit is attempting to answer in his research paper at RISJ.