Indrani Basu is a senior planning producer at the BBC’s Washington bureau. She has worked as a journalist in India and in the US. She puts people at the center of her stories and especially likes interviewing people who have different lived experiences than herself. Once, she even interviewed a cow.
Where is your work featured/what organizations are you affiliated with?
I currently work for the BBC in North America. Most of my work involves planning the team’s digital storytelling. This means fewer reporter bylines and more behind-the-scenes work to make sure we are telling the best and most interesting stories about North America to a local and global audience.
Previously, my work has been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, and HuffPost, among others. I am especially proud of my investigative series on how a Muslim man was charged in 19 cases of terrorism and jailed for 14 years in India, only to be acquitted later. Another investigative piece I wrote on a woman cyberstalker who created an elaborate web of lies to reach the object of her obsession became the most widely-read story ever for HuffPost India, shared by millions of readers around the world.
Where did you go to school?
I went to school in India and here in the US. I have an undergraduate degree in English literature from Delhi University. I then studied at the Asian School of Journalism and worked for a few years in a national newspaper in New Delhi as a metro reporter. Later, I went to Columbia University for a graduate degree in their then-brand new digital journalism program.
How many years have you been in journalism/related field?
I have been a professional journalist since 2010, so for about a dozen years this month!
What are you doing now? (i.e. any projects you’re working on; partnerships; advancements; or noteworthy stories)
At the BBC, I am helping our digital team in North America expand to double its size. I was the first hire in this team expansion last July, and this summer we are hiring for almost two dozen new roles. It’s very exciting to be part of newsrooms when they are growing.
Personally, I have done this in different ways a few times — for instance I helped launch HuffPost’s Indian newsroom back in 2014 as their news and politics editor, and more recently I was one of the two managing editors for a brand new pop-up newsroom called Votebeat covering the 2020 US elections.
A personal reporting project that I am working on – with generous funding from Columbia University – is on a family of fishermen in Alaska.
What pushes you to keep doing the work?
I fell in love with journalism because it helped me understand the world around me better. I take the responsibility – and privilege – of telling people’s stories very seriously. And with each assignment, whether it is as a reporter or editor, I learn something new about the lives other people lead.
Early on in my career, it was the scoop or the breaking news that thrilled me. I still love the adrenaline rush of covering news, but I find more fulfillment now in telling the stories that sometimes live outside the news cycle but become newsworthy once you tell them well.
You can follow Idrani on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/IndraniBasu88
And on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/indranibasu88/