Gurbir Singh is a senior journalist whose career in the profession spans over three decades. He began as a journalist in 1980 by writing for various publications including Onlooker, EPW and the Indian Express, Mumbai. He went on to join Bennett, Coleman & Company’s Times of India News Service as a trainee. His first appointment was on the News Desk of The Economic Times as a Sub-Editor.
He was promoted as a Chief Sub-Editor of The Economic Times, a post he held till 1996 when he joined the paper’s News Bureau as Principal Correspondent. He then moved up as Special Correspondent and then Assistant Corporate Editor in 2004.
In The Economic Times, Gurbir was in charge of the “Media & Entertainment” and “Real Estate & Urban Development” sections of the paper. He is a widely read and respected writer of acumen and integrity. He pioneered business writing in the area of Entertainment and Media and more particularly Film and Television since 1996, when none existed. Similarly, Real Estate, always a mystery market, was brought to the Page 1 of business writing by a team lead by him.
He has written on a wide variety of special subjects including labour, environment and civil rights.
In November 2005, he joined the Hindustan Times as ‘Media Editor’ and was part of the core team that helped launch the newspaper in Mumbai. He was in-charge of all media coverage in the newspaper and guided teams of reporters for covering city development, real estate and special urban issues. He successfully launched the weekly ‘Media Biz’ and ‘Realty Check’ pages for the newspaper – the only specialist news pages of its kind among Indian Newspapers.
He left the Hindustan Times in July 2007 and soon after joined the ABP Group’s business weekly Businessworld as Senior Associate Editor in Mumbai. When the publication changed ownership in October 2013, he moved up as Deputy Editor, took full editorial charge in February 2015, and later took over Editorship as ‘Executive Editor’ of Businessworld in May 2015 till June 2016.
From September 2017, he is working as ‘Consulting Editor’ of The New Indian Express to revamp and improve various aspects of the daily. He also writes occasionally for the Scroll.in and Business Today.
He has won the prestigious international award for the best International story in English in 2001 instituted by the Emirate of Dubai. The $5,000 Award was for a special story on the economics of the ‘Dubai Shopping Festival’ for the Times of India. He has also been awarded the ‘Best Real Estate Writer Award’ for 2004 instituted by the ‘Accomodation Times’.
Gurbir takes a keen interest in civic and social affairs and is a co-founder of the NGO Nivara Hakk Suraksha Samiti along with actress and ex-MP Shabana Azmi and other professionals. The organization has done exemplary work in the housing and rehabilitation of slum-dwellers. The organization also facilitates the provision of amenities like crèches, balwadis for children and health centres for the underprivileged.
The NGO Nivara Hakk is currently working on the largest urban rehab project in Asia involving the construction of 18,000 housing units at Chandivili for the slum oustees of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
Gurbir has been an office-bearer Mumbai Press Club for nearly 2 decades in the capacity of President, Chairman and Secretary. He is currently Convenor of the Press Club’s prestigious National RedInk Awards for Excellence in Journalism. Under his stewardship, the Press Club was reconstructed as a spanking modern set up and launched the RedInk Awards, acknowledged in the industry as the biggest media event in the year.
The Press Club today has emerged as an important media platform. For instance, the Government of Maharashtra chose the Press Club as a partner to route a landmark housing scheme for journalists in 2009 that has provided 230 scribes with homes at subsidized prices.