It came to an end!

We got out final assessments today and would be working on it. Sir waqas gave us a pizza party which I think is super nice of him as a teacher to care so much for his students.We’re asked to do a follow-up report on an issue and I’m going to do a follow up on the privitization initiative by the punjab government of its schools system under PEF. I have the resources and this is one issue that hasn’t been highlighted enough in the media. It hasn’t gained much attention like the issue of PIA privitization but is still a major issue that the teachers in Punjab are facing and has led to clashes between the teacher unions and the government.

The course has finally ended. I hope that Sir Waqas teaches us again because he was one of the most dedicated faculty member I have seen at nust till, now! *and I’ve been stuck here for the past three years*

Back your claim by data!

If you’re making a claim in a newspaper then it is necessary to back it up with substantial information and DATA! Because, if you do not have facts to back it up then it wouldn’t be possible to write a good report or establish your credibility as a news reporter.

Infographs have always been helpful in analyzing and simplifying the data for the audience because then it is easier for the common man to read through it rather than make his own calculated assumptions. Graphs, pie charts and other means of information display are helpful in conveying simplified information to the reader. We did a couple of exercises on excel for that purpose which helped us in harnessing our skills of data interpretation.

For a journalist it is necessary to know the basics of how excel works and unluckily, a lot of us go without this basic training. I remember one time talking to this reporter from SNL, Sheharyar Khan, and he told me that for a financial journalist knowing excel is a survival skill. I don’t plan on going into the field of financial journalism but at times, who knows how helpful the skill of simplifying data and presenting it in charts would be!

Photojournalism!

Photography has always been a subject of interest probably because like they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Photography takes a lot of time and basically, figuring out the right amount of light exposure to convey the audience what you feel about the object or scenario. Brightness and contrast are the two parameters that one has to keep in reference while taking a good shot. I haven’t really done much photography but nonetheless, have always been a fan of people who indulge themselves in it.

We ended up making slideshows for our projects with sounds in the background and images up front. I never really paid attention to how the smallest things we do have such loud noises. However, the project was a very enlightening experience. I learnt a lot and also managed to figure out a lot about the right type of light to provide good photojournalism.

Profile Writing

So after a week of trying to figure out who to write on, I finally have a pick! *epic drum roll* THE MANGO PEOPLE DUO! I think art on social media rarely gets a voice and are showcased on a platform. This is my opportunity to shed some light on the world of social media art. The mango people duo comprises of Tayyab Tanvir and Sheher Bano. Both are located in Islamabad so grabbing a time slot for the interview won’t be that hard. Also, the character of Piddi is very famous on facebook so this is the perfect time to introduce my instructor to comics!

I’ve already picked this Monday evening as the interview time and am hoping to keep it all casual. Also, some techniques as approaching this in the form of prose writing style with descriptive manner would help me polish up my writing skills. Nut graf is also very important in chalking up a good profile story.  I’m going to be drafting some questions to ask them but overall will keep a more casual tone with the interview. We were provided with sample feature stories in class so hoping to apply some of it in my own story.

Journalism is tough

News reporting and writing has been a very demanding course where almost everyday I have to keep an eye on for a potential news story. We got our profiles assigned and have a couple of days to decide on who we would want to do our profile on. I am thinking of either doing it on DD sports of NUST or an internet celebrity. People on the internet will be hard to get in touch with and physically the interview will not be possible, majority of the artists are located in Karachi. However, I was also thinking of doing a feature story on one of our seniors who is involved in creative writing and has her book published in 2014. I can also do one on the teacher in SEECS who is a well known engineer with multiple software houses working in the Silicon valley.

I’m still trying to decide which idea to pitch to my instructor and then develop a report on. In class we covered the basics of headlines and objectivity. Every news report should have a catchy sentence in the first so that the readers get hooked. Some interview tips were also discussed in class. I’ve submitted two reports on the recent champions league but none of them have been published. Hope they get to see the publicity fame soon.

Twitter comes handy

In our class we got a twitter assignment and I decided to do one on my beat. PSL is really in these days so my first intuition was to search for it in the search bar. Karachi kings are against Islamabad United in the second playoffs. Twitter seemed to be a cluster of opinions at the moment but what got my attention was how people stereotyped a lot about the teams in relation to which city they were from. 2

The people near me, since my location option was turned on were cheering for Islamabad. However, citizens of Karachi were seen making fun of Islamabad. Islamabad was doing the same, personally, I’m from Lahore so neither of these two teams appeal me much. I’m in full support of Lahore, but what I got the gist from general public opinion was that Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings are the audience favorite.Capture

And people showed support for their players even though, its a Pakistani league but even within it everyone has picked their favorites. There are polls on twitter deciding which team will take home the glory and while Karachi and Peshawar are favorites, Quetta Gladiators marked their ground in the previous match. It came off as a big blow for those who had been taking Quetta very leniently and now, they are considered a strong team in opposition with others for the cup. This can turn out to be a potential story, “who will take the glory home?” in which I could analyze audience point of view and go through the pros and cons of the players, but it would be more of an opinion piece than a news story. I can ask my teacher if asking audience opinion would turn it into a potential news story.

While, some seem overly eager for the  PSL there are some who think it is being taken all too seriously.3

I tried optimizing my search by focusing on the official hashtag of the match which helped in getting a lot more better feedback. So, in order to search something on twitter be sure to know the official hashtag and then go into advance searches. This really boosts up what you’re looking for in the audience response. 4.JPG

My potential story can be covering the PSL or analyzing who will take the cup home, but first I would need to talk to my teacher and editor about it.

I’m starting to get some of it

Who knew being a sports journalism would be so tough? I mean, people are so biased in their perspective and I am as well, that it literally impacts my news reporting. I still have no story sent in which is disappointing but patience is the key.Finding stories and doing background research on it before formulating questions is very important. It is important to know the background of the issue so that relevant questions or a perspective can be formed when filing a story.

Now, there are a lot of ways to do background research but I prefer the internet. Twitter comes in handy if you want to know the opinion of the majority which also helps in fishing a potential story. Other than that, we learnt some filing techniques and methods of filing a story that is accurate plus indulges the reader. Accuracy and fact checking is important even under the pressure of deadlines. Just because every other media outlet is reporting on a shaky ground that does not mean that you have to follow the footsteps. Work on the story till you actually have solid information, which always pays off in the end. Credibility matters a lot when it comes to filing stories because the smallest of mistakes can make people question your work ethics. Accuracy and credibility come under the topic of objectivity which means, that no matter what your story is there is a need to avoid bias. You have to remain objective and not let your personal bias prevail in your work because often, people start associating you as a subjective journalist which is damaging to the work credibility.

I’m working on a story but there seems to be no feasible progress in the matter. I hope that this phase passes and I churn out a really good story. My editor is from my senior batch, Sohaib. He seems very passionate about cricket and is a good guide.