A journalist’s workshop
By: Aiman Adnan
“The media and the journalists are not the mahatmas of ethics in public life. However, if they are able to inject a note of skepticism in their analyses I think it will have done its job,” said veteran journalist Ayaz Amir, addressing a body of noted as well as aspiring journalists, reporters, bloggers and video makers in the Annual Journalism Workshop held at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) recently.
The theme of the two-day intensive training programme, organised by the LUMS Daily Student society (LDS) in partnership with the Daniel Pearl Foundation, was “Surviving Journalism in Pakistan”. It called for stringent measures of attendance and punctuality. The participants came from all walks of lives; some had flown in from outside Lahore — armed to the teeth with laptops, voice recorders, cameras and the like.
At a time when media in Pakistan has succumbed to all situations that are bent upon undermining the credibility and quality of media, the workshop was just what the doctor order. It sought to create awareness among aspiring journalists about making the best use of their position in national interests.
The list of speakers was a diverse one, starting with Taha Siddiqui (Christian Science Monitor Correspondent based in Islamabad), who talked about his experience as a journalist and documentary filmmaker and also taught the audience how to pitch their stories to major publications.
Beenish Javed, an ARY News reporter, shed light on the crucial differences in reporting in print and electronic media.
Aside from catering to the participants whose primary interest lay in the traditional print and electronic journalism, there was a segment that dealt with the concept of Citizen Journalism and its growing importance in the world. It was conducted by Sonya Rehman, the young journalist from lifestyle magazine Hello.
Quite on the same note, Dr Taimur Rehman of Laal band talked about how crucial the social media has become in voicing one’s opinion.
In order to inculcate the sense of “ethical writing”, senior journalist and Secretary General of PFUJ Mazhar Abbas had been invited. The guest speaker succeeded in drawing a contrast between theory and current practices in journalism.
In order for the participants to have a taste of training from across the border, live online conferencing sessions. Kasia Anderson communicated from Orlando, Florida, to facilitate the learning process.
On the other hand, a specific session with Miranda Hussain from Newsweek Pakistan provided a comprehensive insight into the limitations and responsibilities placed on the shoulders of a competent journalist. Hussain talked about the abysmal situation of editing at some publications and suggested some corrective measures.
Afia Salam shed light on the contribution of female journalists in Pakistan’s history through their works. She was of the opinion that such women should be kept as a benchmark.
Ayaz Amir spoke about how he fights his battles in remaining neutral against the influences of subjectivity.
The workshop was designed to cater to people of varying interests in journalism. Kiran Nazish, the head organizer of the event, said that “the AJW was carefully designed to ‘train’ young journalists.
“Since we do not have a journalism school at LUMS, I thought maybe I could do it with the LDS society,” she said.