Thursday, 11 August 2011

The End

Our journalism program had sadly ended. It was a wonderful experience and journey. I really enjoyed myself, and I know my fellow peers did too. On Wednesday, August 10th, we had our awards ceremony where we got recognized for our hard work. However, I think more than us, Ms. Mariya derseves to be thanked and recognized for her time, effort and commitment with us. Without her, this summer and our school newspaper would not have been possible. On Wednesday, our newspaper, The Imtiazian, was distributed to family and friends. It looks great! We are really impressed and proud to have published the first newspaper of Al-Imtiaz Academy.

 And we are eager to continue these efforts in the future. I am grateful to Ms. Mariya and Ms. Kathryn Wesserman Davis for allowing us all this invaluable opportunity. Farewell, teacher! Take care - we'll miss you!!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Reaching the end

My name is Shahbaz and I am the managing editor of the boys newsroom. In mid-July, after our Dawn field trip, we began writing articles for our newspaper, the first student publication of the Al-Imtiaz Academy. Our first task was to decide the name of our paper. In order to be fair, Ms. Mariya asked everyone to come up with at least three ideas after which we voted on the top five. The girls did the same and the names were then exchanged for another vote. Among the top choices were: The AIA Crescent, The AIA Exclusive, Al-Imtiaz Academy News, The Aimers, and The Al-Imtiazian.

In the end, The Al-Imtiazian won.

Writing articles was challenging because we had to apply everything we had learned. We had to interview to obtain information. We researched background information on the Web. We had to make sure we were accurate. We had to verify our facts and double check the spellings of people’s names. We had to be careful we didn’t misquote anyone. And we had to write interesting ledes. We had two weeks to do this before layout—which is this week.

Our biggest challenge, however, was dealing with power outages. When the electricity would go out, sometimes our unsaved data would be lost. Our valuable class time was also wasted because there was little to do without computers. Still, Ms. Mariya entertained us and made use of every minute. We played games, wrote headlines for our articles, took pictures we would need for the newspaper, or discussed announcements.

During the trivia games, there was a lot of competition between the two teams: Rising Stars and Abbot Lions (my team). Yesterday, the Rising Stars beat us by a few points. Our two class photographers enjoy taking pictures of the entire class, which is fun. The editor in chief, Yousaf, and I always make sure the boys are doing their assigned task. The journalism program is about to end, and we are so close to the finish line. We are almost there!

By Shahbaz Saleem

Final Stretch

My name is Shahab Adnan. Last summer, I attended Ms. Mariya’s English classes on figurative language and blogging. This summer I was selected again to participate in Ms. Mariya’s journalism program. I am very lucky to have this opportunity. Before these classes, I didn’t know what journalism was, why is it important, and how to produce a newspaper. After five weeks of lessons, I now have a better idea of all those things. For example, I did not know the proper rules for writing different types of articles such as news, opinions, features, and sports.

My favorite part of the program was the field trip to Dawn office in Islamabad. I learned many things there such as how newspapers are printed with a big Harris machine. There are a lot of steps involved in printing a newspaper including layout, intense editing, and proper machine handling. We also learned other things such as how news are gathered at Dawn, what software they use to print their daily newspaper, and all four bureaus work together. Did you know that one roll of newsprint paper can produce 20,000 copies of a newspaper? These rolls are imported from Russia and cost Rs. 45,000 each. What surprised me the most is that Dawn has never had to print a correction for misreporting—what a reliable and credible newspaper!

This week and next week, we are busy finishing up our articles and editing each other’s work. This is our final stretch and layout is the only thing left for us to do. It is very stressful for us because we do not know how to use Microsoft Publisher, the program we will be using to produce our newspaper. I am Opinions Editor and I have four pages to layout. Yikes! I think Ms. Mariya is more stressed than us because she has to edit everyone’s articles and check all the pages by Friday. We do not have enough time but insAllah we will complete our mission. After all, we’ve worked too hard not to.

By Shahab Adnan

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


On July 18th, we learned about photojournalism. Ms. Mariya explained that just as journalism tells a story with words, photojournalism tells a story with pictures. Photos are an essential part of journalism because they show rather than tell people what is happening. All news articles should have accompanying pictures in a newspaper so that even the illiterate people can have some idea of what is happening. For example, a picture of dead bodies, blood, and smoke in the background does not need words to explain that a bomb blast killed several people. Photos are also important because they are a visual aid. Everyone’s brain absorbs and understands information differently: through words, pictures, or numbers.

There is a saying, “A picture says a thousand words.” This means that every person interprets or understands a picture in different way. A picture may look like something to someone but something else to someone else. Thus, pictures are a silent but powerful form of communication.

Photoshop is software which allows the editing of photos and images. It has an advantage that you can be creative and make up photos that do not exist in reality. It has certain disadvantage also; manipulated photos can sometimes be misleading, false and inaccurate. In journalism it is unethical to distort a picture or an image from its original form.

By Hina Rehman

A Local Strike

On Sunday, July 17th, after Isha prayer at almost 9:30 p.m., a council of about 15 to 20
men decided to take action against cantonment, the authority in charge of taking care of local matters, because of the recent destruction of houses and streets due to flood-like, heavy rains. Cantonment has not done anything for the people yet. A meeting was held at a committee member’s house to come up with a resolution to the problem but broke up at 10 o’clock without success. The following day, all the committee members decided to strike.

The angry protesters blocked the road and jammed traffic, letting no one go in either direction. They waited until the police arrived. The protesters said they would not move from the road until the head of cantonment department negotiated with them to resolve the destruction problems. The protesters said their words were written in stone and demanded for a peaceful resolution.

After hours of blocked traffic, a settlement was reached. The committee asked the department to survey all the houses, examine the destruction, and calculate the losses due to floods by heavy rains. The committee also gave them two days time to solve this problem, asking them to expand the drains on the road as the first step. The protesters warned that if action were not taken, there would surely be continuous strikes. Today was the last day of warning. Let’s see what happens next!

By Mahnoor

Having a great time

First, I want to introduce myself. My name is Samia Saeed and I am studying at the Al-Imtiaz Academy. This summer, a journalism program was held our school. The aim of this program, designed and taught by Bowdoin College student Ms. Mariya Ilyas, is to teach us journalism and give us an opportunity to practice it.

Thanks to philanthropist Ms. Kathryn Wesserman Davis, this program was made possible for us. Her funds have given us an opportunity to learn journalism and produce our very own newspaper. The funds cover our transportation costs in addition to providing us with laptops and cameras. Because of Ms. Davis, this program is free of cost to every student so the selected students can avail this opportunity without worry of expenditure.

Ms. Mariya is a very good teacher. I like her very much. She delivers every lecture in full detail and makes sure her students understand her. Even though she speaks American English, which is sometimes hard for us to comprehend, she tries to make sure that she speaks slowly. Ms. Mariya’s Urdu vocabulary is small so she uses lots of English words—this helps us improve our English vocabulary.

I am really enjoying this program. I learnt a lot of things that I did not know before. I have learned about journalism, ethical dilemmas, free press, democracy and so many
other things. We also went on field trips that expanded our knowledge about journalism.

On our trip to the radio station, we saw different rooms, such as the studio and booth, of a radio station. We also met with different personalities such as the program interviewer, the control engineer, producer, and the director. We learned that broadcast journalism faces more pressure to be censored than print journalism. Radio Pakistan, whose branch we visited in Abbottabad, is censored media. In other words, the government reviews all shows before they are aired. This trip was very informative and educational.

Then we went to Dawn’s bureau in Islamabad to learn how a newspaper is printed. This was also an educational trip which meant we had to be serious and attentive. Ms. Arifa Noor, the editor that greeted us, gave us a lecture about the history of Dawn and why journalism is important in Pakistan. She told us that Dawn is the oldest newspaper in
Pakistan and that it was published by a Muslim man before the partition between India and Pakistan. Then we went to the printing “factory.” There, we saw how a newspaper comes to life after layout is finalized on the computer. We learned that a newspaper uses only four colors—cyan, magenta, yellow, and key black (CMYK)—to be printed.

In short, I am very thankful to my school, my teacher Ms. Mariya, and Ms. Davis for this wonderful opportunity.

By Samia Saeed

Faisal Mosque

After our Dawn field trip on July 15th, we stopped at Faisal Mosque on our way back. Even though we were lost five times on our entire trip, and therefore behind schedule, Ms. Mariya insisted on visiting the biggest mosque in Pakistan because she had never seen t.

After spending three hours in the Dawn office, we went to Faisal Mosque. The administrator told us to spend only 15 minutes there; we ended up spending 45 minutes instead. Even though our visit was short, it was definitely memorable and fun. We took pictures and walked around enjoying the beautiful structure and its beauty.

Faisal Mosque is a breathtaking mosque. It is unlike other mosques because it does not have a dome. Its architecture is very unique with lots of pointed edges. The mosque, a gift from King Faisal of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, is made of white marble. The crescent and star at top of the mosque are made of pure silver. The chandelier hanging inside the big prayer hall is made of gold. No wonder people call this mosque a “jewel.” It truly is.

The mosque is not only praying. During our visit, we saw many people enjoying the weather, spending time with their loved ones, taking pictures, and relaxing. There were some people who were listening to the songs while others were discussing business. Faisal Mosque has become a hot picnic spot.

We walked around Faisal Mosque with Ms. Mariya and took lots of pictures. Everyone was excited for this mini trip because for many of us, it was also our first time visiting Faisal Mosque. Alas, we had to come back. I am very thankful to Ms. Mariya who provided us this opportunity. Our summer vacation has been enjoyable all the way!

By Hira Abid