It’s an expression you hear often in sport. On paper, X seems like a shoo-in or Y seems like a clear favourite. But, as we so often find out, “on paper” is no guarantee of anything.
Which brings me to the subject of this post—Janane Venkatraman, the latest addition to The Ken’s edit desk.
Amidst the flurry of CVs that hit our inbox each week, Janane’s didn’t jump out as one tailor-made for The Ken. On paper.
She wasn’t a business journalist, for starters. Indeed—aside from being a journalism graduate—it was hard to pin down exactly what she was about or how she fit into what we do. She’s been an advertising content writer; a reporter and sub-editor for The New Indian Express; edited and marketed children’s textbooks for a publishing house. And then back to news, with a stint at The Hindu.
As she says herself, “I’m all over the place when it comes to work stuff”.
On paper, confusing.
In person, however, Janane left little doubt that she was the right person for the job. Her various jobs have given her something vital to both life at a startup and the edit desk in general—versatility. How versatile? Allow her to describe her gig at The Hindu: “I ended up doing pretty much everything—writing for both print and the web, editing for web, video scriptwriting, video editing, one or two data stories, and social media.”
This, combined with her drive—she did an MA in literature, while working a full-time job—and willingness to dive into new challenges made Janane a very promising candidate. It also helped that her grammar was impeccable and she had a keen eye for typos—she even found style discrepancies in our style sheet, go figure…
Being part of the edit desk at The Ken is no bed of roses. Behind every successful reporter, there’s an irate deskie nagging them about deadlines and narrative. Janane will now be part of this proud, if somewhat invisible, clan, helping turn good reportage into great narrative-based journalism.
Janane can be found in the Delhi office, arriving early and leaving late. Some of us believe she never leaves. She loves her sci-fi and fantasy, and, as she puts it, was a fan of Game of Thrones before it was cool. She’s also a cat person, not that it had any bearing on our hiring process (It absolutely did).
A rookie when it comes to long-form editing, she hasn’t let that faze her. She’s constantly asking questions (usually good ones) and is chomping at the bit to weave her idea of story-telling into the deeply reported drafts our writers put together. You can reach her at [email protected] Oh, and for those of you wondering, it’s pronounced juh-nuh-ni, not jan-ane.