Stories about reporters

PTI won the battle but can it win the NA-125 war?

The judicial commission set up to investigate the legitimacy of the votes casted in NA-125 has decided that there shall be a re-vote in the constituency. Shah Mehmood Qureshi deems this as one of the first steps towards a Naya Pakistan under Imran Khan. After the revelation, Khwaja Saad Rafique was found defending himself in front of reporters and journalists, blaming the returning officers of the seven polling stations where the irregularities in vote count were found. While these politicians blame each other face front, their parties have already begun deciding candidates for the empty seat. The war between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ...

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It’s our own damn fault!

After an attack on Jinnah International Airport just two days ago, you would think we have some practice in dealing with the situation. We don’t; in fact, we just keep getting better at failure. The second attack takes place at the ASF training camp, which is in close proximity to the high-alert, already bruised airport. The events that followed post breaking the news were something to see, perhaps as a training manual for What-Not-To-Do-In-An-Emergency-For-The-Second-Time. Within minutes you felt like you were actually there as reporters tried to take us foot by foot with the commandos holding weapons. It began with a few ...

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Rimsha Masih: Another victim we failed to protect

Eight months ago, Rimsha Masih innocently told reporters: “I love Pakistan. I won’t ever leave my country.” Little did she know that after being accused of a crime she did not commit, under laws that were inherently in favour of her accuser, she will be forced to flee the country she held dear, despite how little it offered to non-Muslims like her. Today, Rimsha and her family have been forced to seek asylum in Canada. Rimsha was accused of burning pages of the Holy Quran by her neighbour, Khalid Jadoon in August 2012. She was detained in a maximum security prison for several ...

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Journalism – the worst career?

Besides the usual 140 characters of political, financial, emotional and otherwise, raving and ranting that goes on on Twitter, including my own, I recently came across a tweet that read something along the lines of ‘newspaper reporting ranked as the worst job of 2013’. Sure.  A mighty revelation indeed! As it turns out, it wasn’t just a figment of my imagination after all. Those long endless, and almost of no avail, debates of how overworked, underpaid and over-stressed reporters were, finally made sense. Only, what intrigued me the most was a tweet, by a fellow reporter, which was not a random ...

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The media trial

As soon as headlines make their way on air or the front page of a newspaper for a potentially ‘big case’, we become conspirators, the book of knowledge on morals and ethics, and the law. Of course, freedom of speech is a fundamental right no doubt, which is why we can leave our comments on blogs or news stories and have our way with posting anything we want on social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter. However, whether it is a clear-cut case or a complicated one, our biases nevertheless tend to creep in, and instead of helping out ...

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‘Muni badnaam hui’ is never appropriate on a news channel

I hate watching news on TV, not just because the lead stories in Pakistan are too depressing, but also because their treatment is mainly frivolous. The argument that our electronic news media is young, is years old now. Even if we do buy that claim, sadly there is no sign of growing up. Despite having a body to regulate the workings of our media, the performance of our news channels has always been disappointing. The regulatory setup and channels are to be equally blamed for the low quality. However, a few simple changes here and there can, of course, help set a ...

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Can writers ever be journalists?

The first lesson they gave me in my first fiction writing class at NYU was: find a wound, pluck it, pierce it, poke at it till it gushes out with so much blood you don’t know what to do with it. Now while you’re lying bleeding, drenched in your sordid sorrow and putrid pain, get a freaking pen from somewhere and write all that s*** down. Okay, they only said, “write from pain” – I’m improvising for effect. But when I apply the same theory to a feature story for The Express Tribune – before I can even get the name ...

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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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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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A reporter’s eye: Inside the Supreme Court

Among heavy contingents of law enforcement agencies and hovering helicopters, a horde of people marched towards the Supreme Court yesterday. As they crossed countless walk-through security gates with special entry cards in their hands, they looked excited about catching a glimpse of the soon-to-be-convicted prime minister. While it is totally in keeping with local tradition to create such a scene, at the contempt hearing yesterday, goras (foreigners) too joined us at the forefront. Inside courtroom number 4, the environment was electric. All seats in the courtroom were filled hours before the proceedings began. Besides lawyers, the room was packed with federal ...

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