Noorpur Nauranga(Rural Pakistan) Two committees were formed to monitor the press freedom violations in Noorpur and MusafirKhana, the small adjoining towns of Tehsil Sadar Bahawalpur during the RMNP-UNESCO Training Workshop on basic journalism on Sep.24-26, 2011.
Noorpur: PPP MPA Shah Rukh Malik, President BCCI Muzamilur Rasheed Abbasi, Nazir Khalid and Ehsan Ahmed Sehar sitting on the stage of RMNP-UNESCO Basic Journalism Skills Development Workshop.
Khawaja Abdul Hameed was nominated convener of the committee unanimously for Noorpur while Tayyab Mehmood, Khalid Iqbal Marral, Ismail Anjum and Khawaja Atiq ur Rahman were nominated as members.
Imam Bukhsh Bhatti was elected as convener of the committee for Musafirkhana while Ghulam Murtaza Choudhry, Choudhry Pervaiz Iqbal, Choudhry Muhammad Tariq and Akhlaq Ahmed Saqib will act as member.
Total 11 sessions were conducted during the three day event in which 23 local journalists participated. Two senior trainers Khalid Saeed and Nazir Khalid delivered lectures on basic journalism. Practical exercise was also part of the training.
Noorpur, Resource Persons Khalid Saeed, Nazir Khalid and President RMNP Ehsan Ahmed Sehar lecturing in the workshop.
Nazir Khalid’s lecture was about the structure of news. He said there are a few basic rules for writing and structuring any news story. The inverted pyramid is the model for news writing. It simply means that the heaviest or most important information should be at top-the beginning-of your story, and least important information should go at the bottom. And as you move top to bottom, the information presented should gradually become less important.
Journalists in rural areas are not usually well educated and lack basic skills of news gathering and writing story in proper format. Sometimes they write story as they are told by their source with out intro or lead, putting most important information at the bottom. Nazir Khalid told them how to write intro.
He said the intro is first paragraph of any news story. The intro must accomplish several things:
- give readers the main points of story
- get readers interested in reading the story
- accomplish both “a” and “b” in as few words as possible
Khalid Saeed told the participants; typically editors want lead to be no longer than 35-40 words. Why so short? Readers want their news delivered quickly. A short does just that.
He said, journalists use the five “W’s and the H”- Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.
- Who – who is the story about?
- What – what is the story about?
- Where – Where did the event you are writing about occur?
- When – when did it occur?
- Why – why did this happen?
- How – how did this happen?
He said if a reporter covers five ‘W”s and one H’ the intro of his story will be perfect. Journalism isn’t fiction writing-you can’t create stories from your imagination. You have to find facts, newsworthy topics worth writing about. You can get started by checking out the places where news often happens – police stations, hospitals, airport, railway station, govt. offices, guest house, courts, and political leaders.
The other topics covered by the trainers were: how to gather information, protecting the sources, the most important tools of a reporter, and how to maintain contacts with sources.
During the session about political coverage different aspects of reporting the political meetings, processions and agitation were told to the participants. Covering press conference, art of interview and feature and article writing were topics of two separate sessions during the work shop.
The participants were told to take extra care while reporting religious gathering and making news from their press releases. There should be no such content in the news which can hurt the feelings of any other sect. In case a religious organization puts pressure to publish some content according to its choice, they should immediately approach their editors to bring the facts in their knowledge. Coverage of sensitive issues is a real threat to local journalists in rural centers where administrative machinery is under strong control of influential.
Lively debate took place when the trainers started the session on ‘Ethics of Journalism’. Only few of them were aware of their legal responsibility. They were told to verify allegations of corruption from different sources to avoid the legal action.
During the practical exercise one of the trainers gave a verbal statement, like some minister, on flood situation and at the end invited questions from participants to know how they ask for relevant information. They were asked to write news. Each story was evaluated by the both trainers and shortcomings were pointed out. It proved a good interaction.
Freedom of press issue was discussed in two lengthy sessions. Journalists were asked to protect the media freedom as a collective responsibility. If a violation comes to their knowledge they should convey it to local Media Monitoring Committee which would take prompt action to alert Rural Media Network Pakistan (RMNP). Media Monitoring Committees were advised to review the media freedom situation twice a month and arrange regular meetings in press club. Attacks on freedom of press and incidents of killing of journalists are frequent in Pakistan. In many cities journalist have been protesting against this unfortunate situation and asked the government to give protection to working journalist but no action is visible and conditions are getting worse. The participants resolved to take active part in this noble cause and join the national movement to defend the media freedom.
Member of Punjab Assembly ) from the area Shahrukh Malik was chief guest in the certificate distribution ceremony in the concluding session. He appreciated the efforts of UNESCO and RMNP to educate the local journalists and asked them to take maximum benefit from such training work shops.
Sahibzada Muzzamal Rasheed Abbasi, President Bahawalpur Chambers of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) was guest of honor. Addressing the participants he said learning and training is a life long process. Journalists reflect the aspirations of the people therefore they should be well aware and well educated, he added.