ISLAMABAD: A one-day training workshop on economic reporting for women journalists was held in Islamabad on Monday.
This was one of many workshops conducted by Uks, an Islamabad-based Research, Resource and Publication Centre on Women and Media.
The idea behind this training was to empower Pakistani women in the media with a two-pronged approach by preparing them for economic reporting and filing quality stories.
“Our aim is to get women into mainstream reporting; there is nothing that women can’t do,” said Tasneem Ahmar, Director Uks. Asad Hussain, Head of SZABIST, and Hammad Siddiqui, Senior Program Manager Centre for International Private Enterprise, spoke at the workshop and held an interactive question and answer session with the participants.
“The gap between facts and analysis is one of the major flaws in most of the stories that get printed in newspapers,” said Asad Hussain. He felt that reporters needed to do more than just write down the facts. “Anyone can do that,” he said. Reporters, he felt, needed to focus on analysis.
“Unless a reporter wants to remain a reporter forever, they need to focus on adding value to their stories through effective analysis,” Hussain said. “Yes, reporters must present facts but they must do it in a way that can be understood by the common person and must be explained; value addition to the facts that have been collected is essential.”
The speakers also spoke about how women were portrayed in the media. “Women are portrayed as being extremely weak and oppressed and while a majority of women may be in that state, why is it that the media cannot focus on women who have achieved something; focus on something positive?” Tasneem Ahmar said.
The speakers pointed out aspects that were missing in stories and explained how these missing elements could be incorporated in the stories.
“Your words have a huge impact on how people perceive a certain story. So choose words that bring a positive image to mind,” said Hammad Siddiqui.
The session concluded with a group exercise where all the participants were asked to develop a story in bullet points keeping in mind all the things that were pointed out during the workshop.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2010.
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