Stories about journalism

Are journalists allowed to be pampered?

In a day designed exclusively to balance work, socialising, girl-time and me-time for the modern working woman, a cosmetics manufacturing company held a day-long pampering session to launch their new range of extensive face washes for female reporters and bloggers who write about beauty and lifestyle. From an invite in a simple yet chic wooden box laden with chocolates, one knew this was going to be a day full of delightful indulgences. Soon followed a personalised travel case replete with an entire range of beauty products. And then the actual day began with a personal pick up in a chauffeur-driven ...

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The misery of being a Pakistani sports reporter

Often I think about what I would write in my suicide note. I can’t really write that I killed myself out of boredom or the fact that being a sports journalist in Pakistan is equal to being dead. But you can’t kill something that is already dead, so I’d say that being a sports journalist is like being undead. I realised I’m undead last week right in the middle of the dancing and celebrating with my fellow Chelsea supporters, when I felt the need to kill myself, understanding that covering Pakistani football for two years has never given me a ...

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When to use or lose identifiers

Ethnicity, religion, sect and gender. Do we or do we not, as journalists, use these as identifiers in a headline or in the introduction of a story when we are reporting on an incident –  that is perhaps a question that every journalist has to ask and the answer is never clear. When is it right to mention ethnicities or religion? Does it add any news value to a story or can it be the catalyst or inciting possible hatred amongst ethnic or religious groups? The question we journalists often ask is that if we do not mention these identifiers, are ...

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Imran Khan is the target of your Goebbels’ vendetta!

Apropos to the excessively grandiloquent, wastefully voluble and patently frivolous attempt The Express Tribune has been part of subjecting Imran khan as prime target of its Goebbels’ vendetta. Now, what shall I say about The Express Tribune? The blog has started to give me an impression as if its raison d’etre is to have a unifocal soliloquy on publishing literally anything against Imran Khan without realising how ludicrous the writer may sound or implausible the publisher. If I were to describe The Express Tribune in a nutshell, I think I’ll marginally settle for this definition: Camelot of an erudite savant ...

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Why give female reporters ‘soft’ beats?

Besides the intellectually deprived generalisation with which ‘beats’ are largely associated in media organisations across the country, what fascinates me even more is the assumption that certain beats work well with a specific gender. In the world of journalism, where ‘beat’ actually refers to subjects which are generally covered by a reporter in the course of reporting, one of the great debates is whether a reporter covers a ‘hard beat’ or a ‘soft beat’. Let me dare to explain. The elders of our tribe in their infinite wisdom decided to develop a relationship between news beats and genders of reporters. Hard ...

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Perils of reporting in Balochistan

A senior journalist chose his words very carefully while explaining to a guest who had come to Quetta from Islamabad to compile a report on difficulties and circumstances under which journalists work in Balochistan. “The deteriorating situation is a result of war and terror that Pakistan has been fighting for the past three decades. There is lawlessness in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal regions but Balochistan is the worst affected,” he told him. His fears and calculations were understandable following the multifaceted threats journalists face on a daily basis. Journalists who received threats lodged complaints and said they could not edit the news ...

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Nasreen’s dismembered body didn’t scare me

Female body parts were found from different parts of Karachi, including Soldier Bazaar and Guru Mandar. One of the victims, whose body parts were found in the Guru Mandar area, was identified as Nasreen. As I looked at Nasreen’s body chopped into pieces that lay on separate tables in a smelly morgue, I did not shudder. Any normal person would have trembled, I think. I spent 15 minutes in that very room where her skinned parts were being inspected by medico legal officers (MLO). I roamed around, looking at her body for details; if I had not seen the body, I ...

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Bhoja Air crash: Tragedy for the professional cynic

Here’s what an ordinary day in the newsroom is like: Stories come in, at regular intervals. People edit them, casually, in the knowledge that our paper will reach our readers tomorrow. People take cigarette breaks. Someone reminds someone else to turn the television on in case of breaking news, which usually turns out to be something insipid (at least for a journalist), like tyre burning at XYZ roundabout. Here is what today, the day that over a hundred lost their lives in the Bhoja Air crash, was like: At close to 7 pm, breaking news turned out to be far more than ...

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Journalism awards and journalists

By several accounts the ceremony for distributing Agahi Awards, Pakistan’s first journalism prizes, at the Pak-China Friendship Centre in Islamabad was a special event. First, because the heads of press clubs from across the country including National Press Club (Islamabad), Multan, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar, Karachi, Azad Kashmir and Tribal Areas attended it. Second, no top government representative showed up at the event — encouraging organisers to take a major decision. The information minister was invited to the event but the ceremony couldn’t make it to her priority list. An important decision made at the awards ceremony was that in future ...

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Exposing corruption: Threats to journalists

It is a bitter fact in our country that if you expose the corruption record of any influential entity then you must be ready to face the dire consequences. During my journalistic career spanning 15 years, I too have received several threats from state and non-state actors alike. When I exposed the case of an alleged rape of a housemaid by the district Nazim of Sheikhupura in his camp office, I was threatened because the police were forced to register a case against their own Nazim. The parents of the 12-year-old girl had refused to lodge an FIR against the ...

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