Journalists given training at workshop in Dubai | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Journalists given training at workshop in Dubai

Pakistan Press Foundation


Latest innovations in education and general reporting were highlighted at a four-day workshop (March 21 to 25) held in Dubai for Pakistan-based journalists. The participants included 10 Karachi-based reporters who were given extensive lectures by senior journalists from the UK on the latest skills required in education and general reporting.

The workshop was organised by British Council in collaboration with International School of Communication. Basically, the idea was to train media persons from the Sindh province. The journalists were given training on reporting educational and general issues in line with the established standards of international journalism.

UK journalists Janet Murray and Louise Tickle conducted the workshop, which was attended by Sher Muhammad Babar (Yasir), Business Recorder; Naeem Sahutra, The Express Tribune; Faiz Khoso, KTN News TV; Muhammad Askari, Jang; Syed Safdar Rizvi, Express; Mansoor Khan, The Nation; Taimoor Mirza, Dawn.Com; Syed Wasim Ahmed, Dawn News TV; Mohammad Faisal Khan, Samma TV and Tariq Moin, Geo TV.

Janet Murray is a freelance education journalist. She writes mainly for the Guardian, but is also a regular contributor to a range of trade publications, including the Times Education Supplement. Her work has also appeared in the Independent, Independent on Sunday, Daily Telegraph, The Times, Daily and Sunday Express, the Sun, Healthy, BBC Online, Junior and many other publications.

Louise has been working as freelance journalist for national, regional and trade press since 2000. She specialises in education and social affairs and has also written extensively on work issues, ethical business, international development and travel. He work is mostly seen in The Guardian, but she loves variety and has written for publications including Community Care, YoungMinds, Social Enterprise, BBC Countryfile, BBC Wildlife, Eve, Elle and Coast magazines. Shahid Ashraf and Khawar Abbas from the British Council also participated in the training workshop and assisted the participating journalists.

The training consisted of two themes; education reporting and general reporting skills. The first one covered why education reporting is important?, how to find newsworthy stories and how to come up with original ideas for education news and features. This included why education reporting is important: who do you want to reach and why?; Getting ahead of the game: identifying current and emerging issues and narratives in the education sector eg poor rate of compulsory education (education emergency report), low literacy rates, impact of recent natural disasters, etc.

News values: what are they and how can they help you identify what makes a good story (and what doesn’t). News lists: prioritising stories at a national and regional level. Finding stories – on and off diary. Identifying potential sources (both national and provincial) eg governance, policy and legislation, research and reports from select committees, social media, citizen journalism, charities and other trusted sources etc.

Generating stories for different audiences and purposes: features, blogs, interviews etc. Specialising within your sector, defining your interests and the issues in education that motivate you to go the extra mile. Policy versus people? How does an education journalist translate political activity into the practical lived reality, and then communicate what’s happening on the ground? And building and maintaining contacts within the education sector.

The second theme focused on general reporting on education. This included the difference between news, features and opinion, writing an effective news story, typical length, structure, style, content sources etc. How to cover a breaking news story or update a story on an issue you’ve already started covering, writing an effective feature: typical structure, style, content, sources, using language/sentence structure to create particular effects etc.

Sourcing and using quotes in stories: who do you trust and how do you check? Being clear about what is on and off record, copy approval and media independence, balance and bias: how to ensure stories are fair and balanced, right of reply etc. Journalistic ethics: how to report incomplete quotes, what degree of ‘tidying up’ is allowed, dealing with vulnerable interviewees, protecting your sources, interviewing children, social media and breaking news: how this is influencing media law and ethics.

The trainers emphasised that “we should be honest about our sources, even if we can’t name them. The general rule is that no one should be given the right to copy approval. In certain circumstances we may allow people to see copy or quotes but we are not required to alter copy. We should avoid offering copy approval as a method of securing interviews or co-operation”.

They said that copyright journalists should not use content from non-authorised third-party sources – whether pictures, text or other media – without obtaining the necessary permissions. They said that journalists should not engage the paid services of external non-journalistic agents or assistants without the prior knowledge and approval of the editor-in-chief. They said that photographs digitally enhanced or altered images, montages and illustrations should be clearly labelled as such. There must be integrity of motive – the intrusion must be justified in terms of the public good that would follow from publication.

Source: Business Recorder

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