For weeks ahead of US President Barack Obama‘s full visit to India in his first term in office, speculation was who would get the prized pre-tour interview.
The buzz was that The Times of India would get the print interview given its reach, while NDTV would get the television interview. NDTV’s Prannoy Roy was said to be camping in Washington, DC.
There was even speculation that Obama would give one-on-one interviews to a clutch of representatives of Indian media houses so that no one felt shortchanged.
But, in the end, an unlikely news source got the Obama interview first: Press Trust of India (PTI). And the man who secured the interview? Lalit K. Jha, the news agency’s principal US correspondent (in picture).
The Delhi University history honours graduate and Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan journalism diploma holder’s interview made it to the front pages of most papers, but only The Indian Express gave him a byline.
The former Hindu and Hindustan Times reporter, with 12 years in the business, has been based in the United States since 2005, serving as North America correspondent for a number of South Asian publications, including a Burmese magazine and the Afghan news agency.
Photograph: Jay Mandal/ On Assignment, courtesy Lalit K. Jha