Meet the OPC Members: Q&A With Andre Borges

Andre Borges is a news production manager, video producer,  and social news reporter for BuzzFeed, based in Mumbai, India. He previously worked for the newspaper Dna India from 2013 to 2014, covering entertainment, film, television, literature, theater and culture, and served as film critic for the site.

Hometown: Mumbai.

Education: Masters in English Literature, Mumbai University.

Languages you speak: English, Hindi.

First job in journalism: I worked at a news organisation called dna India, and I was the pop culture editor. If we’re talking about first ever thing, then I interned with the Mumbai Mirror, working on their city page “Unwind,” which presented things around the city, things to do, weekend getaways, etc.

Countries reported from: India.

When and why did you join the OPC? I joined in late 2017. I joined because of the wide network the OPC has, and to be able to make connections in the field across borders.

What first sparked your interest in pop culture reporting?

I’ve always been a fan of Western pop-culture, comic books and all things nerdy, so when a position on the dna webdesk opened up, I went in talking about all those things immediately. It was then that they realised that a position like that would be beneficial to what was at the time a strictly news-based organisation. And it worked out really well for everyone involved. The more I reported about things from that sphere, the more I knew I loved it. Which has led me to what I currently do, creating videos on political, social, and cultural issues and happenings in India.

Major challenge as a journalist:
I think vetting a story properly. Not something that’s happened on the internet (although that’s hard too) but like for breaking news, scoops, etc. There’s so much fake news here, people don’t want to talk about influential politicians and actors, and the lines are so murky in terms of the law.

Best journalism advice received: “Don’t be afraid to take a stand. Don’t be intimidated by the man.” It didn’t have to rhyme, but I paraphrased it.

Worst experience as a journalist:
When I received death threats after writing a story about the “Curse of Aaron Ramsey” when Paul Walker died. [There is an internet meme saying every time the Arsenal Football Club player scores a goal, a public figure dies.] But also I HATE when I need to interview someone for an hour, and my whole day goes.

When traveling, you like to…
Mostly disconnect. Try and stay in the moment of what I’m doing and not worry about the email I haven’t replied to or the shoot I have next month. (This rarely happens tbh, but such is the job.)

Hardest story: I co-handled the production and ideation of an episode of BuzzFeed’s Netflix show “Follow This” and pre-production for that was hell. Everything kept falling through, and to even get information vetted was annoying because it was Beauty Standards in Bollywood.

Journalism heroes: John Oliver, Ravish Kumar, Dhruv Rathee, Johnny Harris, Carlos Maza and Faye D’Souza.

Dream job: To have a John Oliver-type show, speaking about the things that occur in India.

Favorite quote: “Show, Don’t Tell.”

Places you’re most eager to visit: Japan, Comic-Con, Iceland and New Orleans.

Most common mistake you’ve seen: Trying to be first in breaking something.

Place you most want to return to: Europe.

Twitter handle: @borges