BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Atlanta, GA, July 3, 2020: “I’m absolutely thrilled, excited and grateful to be selected as a recipient of this scholarship and journalism fellowship,” said Archith Seshadri, global journalist and TV host based in Atlanta, Georgia, a recent recipient of the IRE fellowship to the upcoming Data Journalism Bootcamps. One among eight, Seshadri, who serves as the Atlanta Bureau Chief/Anchor for Nexstar Media Group, received the Knight TV Data Fellowship.
Established by IRE member Daniel Gilbert, the fellowship is offered in conjunction with the Institute for rural journalism and community issues at the University of Kentucky. The fellowship allows reporters to learn about data mining and the tools available to hold the powerful accountable.
“I believe as journalists we also hold ourselves accountable. We are here to deliver messages to the public and inform them about the community we live in. It is imperative to present a balanced and objective story showcasing both sides. I look forward to learning the trends in new media and data journalists to deliver even better stories.”
“While awards and scholarships don’t define us as journalists, it is always a positive reminder to feel appreciated for the work we do. I am a big believer in giving it your best, going for what you want, and doing what you love daily. I am very thankful for being picked amongst so many diligent and qualified candidates,” said Seshadri. He chose in-person in 2021 option over the virtual because, as he puts it, he “enjoys meeting people face-to-face and there is something special in taking down notes with your pen and paper.”
Winning candidates go through an application process and criteria based on type of content, region and years of experience. “Luckily for me, I’ve spent more than a decade in various newsrooms including Macon, Augusta, Charlotte, New Delhi and Atlanta. I also am fortunate to work in local, national and international news organizations and work both in front of the camera and behind,” notes Seshadri.
“2020 can easily be summed up as the year of the pandemic, protests and politics. Now more than ever, journalists are needed to share the stories of survivors, ask health experts the questions we want answers to and hold our elected leaders accountable,” remarked Seshadri about being a journalist in COVID times. Seshadri has been on the ground covering the coronavirus outbreak since March when the first reported cases broke in Georgia. For the last four months, he covered all arenas including testing, antibodies and vaccine efforts, numerous press conferences at the state capitol, the CDC, and the GEMA headquarters to get answers and understand what is being done to curb the spread in our state. “The crazy part about all of this was my parents were stuck in India, briefly, when the pandemic first broke so it was juggling an insane news schedule while working with the airlines to bring them back. Luckily, they are back in Atlanta and did not contract it during their flight back. This virus has reminded us of what is truly important in life and what we should be giving priority to.”
Seshadri’s lockdown diaries include cooking a lot more and using digital tools to craft stories. “I’ve also started going for more walks in my neighborhood instead of relying on the gym and yoga studios because of the lockdown.”
What is Seshadri’s journalism mantra? “One of the mantras is finding your purpose and aligning it with your brand. Your brand does not necessarily mean what you do for a living or what you wear but it’s a combination of all of those things. My brand words: energy, positivity and passion. I have a “can do” positive attitude towards life and believe in writing down my goals and focus on doing what I love. Luckily, that aligns with my passion and purpose. POSITIVITY + PASSION + PERSISTENCE + PATIENCE = POWERFUL PURPOSE. In short, my purpose is to bring a smile to at least one new person every day. If I were to expand that, I would say “my purpose in life is to engage, energize, empower, educate and entertain people through the art of storytelling (journalism, improv, acting, singing). I want to connect people, create content and help people find success and happiness.”
Having graduated with an Engineering Degree from GA Tech in 2004, Seshadri switched gears to pursue his passion for narrating stories. At the end of the day, we all have to find out what makes us happy and work hard to achieve that goal, he notes.” I start my day with 3 positive intentions and wrap up my day with a gratitude prayer. But the most important thing we can all do to create a better future is to be nice to one another. In a world where we can be so many things, let’s be kind.”