The owners of Rajasthan Patrika, who run Catch News, have asked the editor in chief Shoma Chaudhury to resign from the post. Shoma, in her resignation letter has mentioned that it was a “completely unexpected development”, and that she was asked by the management to “stop coming to work from Monday”.
Shoma went on to add that: “To be abruptly divorced from it like this seems a real injustice, to say the least.” Insiders have revealed that Shoma did not enjoy the support of the staff because of her rude and obnoxious behaviour which led to the staff getting together and requesting the management for her removal. They threatened to stop work in case no action was taken against her. At the same time, the staff conveyed to the management that it was actually Editor Bharat Bhushan who had been running the show while Shoma was only causing a ruckus on the news floor. Sources have realed that almost 90% of the staff wanted her out and were willing to resign if she was not sacked.
Initially, when Shoma started the venture, no experienced name in journalism was willing to join Catch News knowing her nature. Many who had joined left soon after experiencing it first hand. Later, the management decided to bring in Bharat Bhushan as the the frontman after which journalists began joining the news portal.
Shoma was also the former managing editor of Tehelka from where she had to quit after the infamous Tarun Tejpal rape incident. Her former colleagues have stated that she was quite infamous in the Tehelka newsroom as well as a result of her rude behaviour. Staff had complained against her in the past as well but her proximity to Tejpal ensured she continued as the managing editor of Tehelka until the Tejpal controversy.
Read full text of her resignation here:
It’s seven months since we started Catch and I’m very proud of the media platform we’ve collectively created. One of the greatest pleasures of this time has been to work with a wonderful, young, high-calibre team like you. A lot has been achieved. Yet, we’re only at the beginning of what I’d hoped would be a very fulfilling journey together.
The adrenalin of creating Catch was to push the boundaries; find ways to marry old values of journalism with new modes of story-telling; break the usual silos. There are so many ideas still waiting to be set into motion; stands to be taken; stories to be done.
However, I’m writing to tell you with great regret, it seems I will no longer be able to lead the team or share that journey with you.
In a completely unexpected development, on 27 February, I was called to Jaipur by the director of finance and told that, since Catch has now been successfully created and stabilized, Patrika no longer wants to keep me on as its editor-in-chief. I was asked to stop coming to work from Monday, 29 February.
To say I am stunned by this arbitrary behavior would be an understatement. Catch was not a functioning institution I walked into: it is something I helped create from scratch. To be abruptly divorced from it like this seems a real injustice, to say the least.
Financially, Catch belongs to Patrika. Terminating a contract is their prerogative. However, I would like to address the team at 4 pm today.
Despite the usual ups and downs of proprietor-editor dynamics, I’ve had very cordial dealings with Patrika, Siddharth, Nihar and their families and I appreciate the opportunity they gave me to create something I’m proud of. I am, therefore, doubly saddened and shocked by this.
You’ve been an energizing, inspiring, livewire team to work with. You have incredible potential. I sincerely hope Patrika will back that all the way.
I know this will come as a shock to all of you. As it has been for me. I wish it was otherwise.