Stories about journalism

What impact does social media have on journalism?

Not so long ago, there were only a select number of news communication and news transmission mediums present; be it newspapers or television based news channels. Especially speaking about the former, newspapers were constrained, time bound, and limited in terms of what to report and how to report it. Flash forward to 2014, we frequently and repeatedly see how pivotal and crucial social media has been to the news industry with context to live coverage of a certain event. Whether TV based news mediums or print, utilising social media tools like Facebook and Twitter have become the norm. Not only are these tools used ...

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Here is why I chose Habib University

Every student stepping out of high school faces a dilemma: which university should they choose for further studies? Recently, a major investment has been made to establish Habib University. This university is a progressive educational institution that has incorporated state-of-the-art facilities along with learned faculty members. This university became my choice and here is why: The faculty Many universities in Pakistan have faculty members from foreign countries but very few are committed to undergraduate research and service inside and outside the campus community. This holds true for Pakistani teachers as well. A majority of the faculty members at Habib University are middle-aged or younger; this just ...

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Today, I make peace with the media

I wrote a blog for this section a few weeks ago, in which I called the independent media, “Inane, unethical, disgusting and disastrous” It was, and still is, a terrible oversight on my part, an unkind act if you will. I do apologise. I was being a schmuck and it took me a while to decide if I should clear the air. I am acerbic and I can be thoughtless and cruel at times. Even though this description – disgusting and so on – holds true in some cases, it certainly doesn’t apply to everyone. Media in Pakistan is under attack from all sides. ...

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What about the two Air Force pilots who died yesterday?

Yesterday, Pakistan lost two impeccable fighter pilots in a saddening crash in Karachi. The incident took the lives of Wing Commander Khurram Sammad and Squadron Leader Umair Elahi. As the Mirage fighter plane crashed in Baldia Town, the incident caused four other casualties. Yesterday, Pakistan also saw the self-proclaimed ‘Quaid’ of Sindh, also known as Altaf Hussain getting arrested for money laundering. The news of his arrest caused the usual stir in halting all life in Karachi. Roads were jammed, shops closed and basically all activities came to a standstill as the city sat in terror. The violence that comes with such news is nothing new. People ...

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Putting journalists behind bars (or in coffins) – the loss is yours!

Last week, a delegation of foreign journalists visited our newspaper’s thrice-attacked office in Karachi, Pakistan. As we hustled to make them feel comfortable while simultaneously trying to explain the newsroom dynamics, one of them asked us in a matter-of-fact tone. “Do you support the current government?” There was a nervous silence as each of us lingered over the question for a few seconds. Until one of my colleagues responded, “We try and support no one. Our job is to report things as is.” All of us nodded in unison. In a simple sentence, she had summed up the essence of what journalists all across ...

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Is Abb Tak’s Uzma Tahir the new Maya Khan?

There’s a new trend catching on – TV aunties raiding your homes with their camera crews and demanding to know who you’re sharing your apartment with. Say ‘cheese’, Pakistan! Uzma Tahir is a woman on a mission. The host of the program ‘Khufia’ on Abb Tak, takes in a deep breath and valiantly nose-dives into Karachi’s sordid core where men dress like women. It’s an exhaustive, but fruitful, day’s work of ramming her microphone into people’s faces and inquiring, “Ap Naila ke saath kab se hein? Tumhein pata hai ke who kaun hai? Khuwaja sera? Mujhe toh pata hai yeh khuwaja sera hai” (How long have ...

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Express News attack: Zip your lips or we will kill you

It sounded like thunder. My colleague and I stared at each other for a good 30 seconds, wondering what that noise could possibly be. Then, just as suddenly as it started, it stopped. “Maybe someone was moving furniture upstairs”, offered my colleague to my quizzical expression. And then the storm came. Chaos. Panic. Fear. That wasn’t thunder, nor was it people moving furniture; somebody had emptied entire magazines on our office. The Express Tribune was under fire, literally. They say when you are scared, you go numb and every minute feels like an hour. Let me tell you that I have never experienced fear ...

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Tehelka controversy: Can powerful editors get away with sexual harassment?

For more than a decade now, Tehelka magazine has been respected by the media fraternity for its fearless coverage of illegal defence deals, land rights issues, gender equality and communalism. Then, what happened two weeks ago in an elevator of the Grand Hyatt, Goa that not only shattered the reputation of the magazine, but blacklisted it for a long time to come? Tarun Tejpal, the patron of Tehelka, is said to have sexually assaulted a female colleague during the annual THiNK fest that Tehelka organises every November. He sent an email yesterday afternoon to the Managing Editor of the magazine, Shoma Chaudhury saying that he has ‘recused’ ...

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Photojournalist Farrukh: A true inspiration!

I first met Farrukh when I was speaking at the International Education and Resource Network (iEARN) event in Karachi. I saw him sitting there on his motorised chair smiling and listening attentively. As soon as I was done speaking, I stepped down from the podium and went straight over to him to sit down and talk. Farrukh is an inspirational human being because he has not allowed his physical disability to slow him down. Below his neck, he only has command over one hand, with the rest of his body paralysed. However, he is a photojournalist who just had his first exhibition this year. Farrukh’s family ...

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Dear CNN: Lailat al-Qadr is not a ‘security risk’

I was putting my shoes on, leaving for my evening prayers, when my phone buzzed with a text: “Saw a CNN byline linking ‘Night of Power’ to the recent terror alert. Talk of sensationalism.” You know how it goes. The story was largely accurate – prompted by fears of a terrorist attack, in an unprecedented move on Sunday; the US closed 21 embassies  across the Middle East and North Africa. Add a strategically implanted – and inaccurate -analysis by CNN’s Peter Bergen, who alleged that Sunday was the “Night of Destiny”, making it an auspicious occasion for al-Qaeda extremists to die. Social media dies for ...

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