From past to the present: Tired of studying colonial journalism, KU student launches own newspaper
KARACHI: University of Karachi (KU) student Ali Raza once asked his teacher during his third year of Bachelor’s in journalism why we still study colonial journalism, its history and future. “Why can’t we learn about how journalism has evolved in Pakistan and where it is going today?”
His teacher told him to go make his own newspaper and that is exactly what Raza did.
The initial stages
In 2013 when ‘Jhalkiyan’ was in its initial stages, Raza would publish the paper on plain A4 size. He would decide the content, write articles himself, assemble the papers and get them photocopied, and then distribute them among students at KU.
His motivation to bring out the paper lies in his faith in the power of print media. Raza, who is also a good speaker with a penchant for politics, believes that all the revolutions that the world has seen have occurred because of print media.
The paper starting off as a publication that relied on photocopies, Jhalkiyan has now turned into a bilingual monthly newspaper. The editor-in-chief, Raza, now plans to take it forward and launch a proper monthly magazine.
The declaration was obtained by the student non-governmental organisation, Talib-e-Ilm Welfare Organisation, which is registered with the Sindh social welfare department. The paper has local and international news, current affairs and articles from student writers. Moreover, the paper is aimed at acquainting students with the dynamics of media — a job he feels the university curriculum hardly does.
“Look at what it taught us,” Raza told The Express Tribune, referring to his coursework. “It’s all about history and nothing about the present or the future. The mass communication department of Karachi’s largest university lacks equipment required especially to acquaint students with electronic media,” he complained.
According to Raza, the aim of the publication is to apprise students of the scholarship and job opportunities that they can avail but are never told about. He wants his publication to serve as a guideline for young students.
An interesting feature of this magazine is that students have taken the responsibility of not only publishing and circulating it but that of deciding the content too. “We have a team of students who belong to the mass communication, international relations and business departments, and they decide the theme and content of the newspaper every month.”
Raza aims to improve the image of KU students through his publication. “Since my first year at KU, I have always wanted to work towards image building of KU students in the corporate sector,” said Raza. “They think that KU students are not capable of doing big jobs.”
Apart from learning more and practicing what they already know, students will be equipped to interact with the corporate sector directly, he hoped. Explaining further, Raza said that Jhalkiyan has a team of young, passionate social scientists and entrepreneurs. The team believes that the main goal is to promote students who are otherwise deprived of opportunities because of the environment that KU harbours.
“I am in touch with some companies and have requested them to let us know whenever they have any vacancy so that we can put an advertisement in our paper,” said Raza, adding that through this initiative, students will be able to know where they should apply as most fresh graduates don’t know where they should apply for jobs and eventually miss opportunities.
“The idea behind launching a newspaper was to utilise what we learn as students of mass communications or any other social science subject,” said Ali.
Raza said that financing and promoting his project were the most difficult aspects to manage. “It generally seems bad to beg and, that too, for money,” he said. “But I have done that and am still doing.”
He also recalled the time when he would go to different places inside the university to find students sitting so that he could distribute photocopies of his paper and request them to give some money as donation and contribute in the form of articles and poems.
Among other hurdles, the team has also faced some threats from the student wings of political parties at KU.
The team of Jhalkiyan now plans to convert the paper into a proper monthly magazine and then work towards launching it online.