Madhu Trehan: Pioneering Journalism and Digital Media

Madhu Trehan

Madhu Trehan

Madhu Purie Trehan, a trailblazing Indian journalist born in the 1940s, has left an indelible mark on the landscape of Indian media. From co-founding the iconic India Today magazine to her pivotal role in establishing Newslaundry, Trehan's journey is a testament to her commitment to journalistic excellence and innovation. Her estimated net worth is $4.8 billion.

Education and Early Career

Born in 1946 in Lahore, British India, Madhu Trehan's educational journey laid the foundation for her future in journalism. After graduating from Welham Girls' School in Dehradun in 1962, she ventured to London's Harrow Technical College & School of Arts in 1968 to study journalistic photography. Trehan further honed her skills by earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University, New York, in 1972. Her early career in New York included working at the United Nations press department and serving as an editor for the weekly newspaper, India Abroad.

India Today and Newstrack

Returning to India in 1975, Trehan, alongside her father, V.V. Purie, founded India Today, a groundbreaking news magazine. Her pioneering work in the media industry continued in 1986 when she produced and anchored Newstrack, India's first video news magazine. This venture solidified her reputation as a trailblazer in investigative journalism, setting new standards for television news reporting in the country.

Yakub Memon Interview and Tehelka as Metaphor

In August 1994, Madhu Trehan conducted the rare and exclusive interview of Yakub Memon, a key figure in the 1993 Bombay bombings. Her fearless approach to journalism was further highlighted by this significant interview, showcasing her commitment to presenting diverse perspectives and fostering dialogue.

In 2009, Trehan took on a new role as an author with her book "Tehelka as Metaphor: Prism Me a Lie, Tell Me a Truth." The book delves into the 2001 Operation West End exposé and its aftermath, offering insights into the complex world of investigative journalism.

Digital Ventures: Wah India and Newslaundry

Madhu Trehan's foray into the digital realm began with the launch of Wah India in 2000, a website and print magazine. In 2012, she, along with three colleagues, founded Newslaundry, a pioneering crowd-sourced media critique website. Newslaundry reflects Trehan's commitment to fostering media accountability and transparency in the digital age.

Delhi High Court Controversy

Madhu Trehan's career has not been without its share of controversies. In 2001, the Delhi High Court ruled that Trehan and four other journalists on Wah India were guilty of contempt of court for an article rating the High Court's Judges. Despite the legal challenges, Trehan's commitment to journalistic integrity remained unwavering.

Personal Life and Legacy

Madhu Trehan's personal life is intertwined with notable personalities in India's media landscape. Married to renowned heart surgeon Naresh Trehan, she is the sister of Aroon Purie, the founder-publisher and editor-in-chief of India Today. Bollywood actress Koel Purie is her niece.


Madhu Trehan's journey from the early days of print journalism to the digital age reflects her adaptability and pioneering spirit. As a journalist, author, and co-founder of Newslaundry, she continues to inspire a new generation of media professionals, leaving an enduring legacy in the ever-evolving landscape of Indian journalism.

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