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

Wonderful Trip

During my summer vacation, I have been attending classes of a journalism program held at my school. On July 15th we took a field trip to Dawn newspaper in Islamabad to transition from learning about journalism to practicing it at our own school. After the trip, we will begin preparing for our own newspaper, the first one at the Al-Imtiaz Academy.

On Friday, we set out to Islamabad at 8:45 a.m. from school. There was one school bus and one school van, on which the boys traveled. On our way to the Dawn office, we enjoyed ourselves by eating, dancing, and singing songs. We reached Dawn after 3 hours.

Before going to the office, we took an hour lunch break. Some students ate in hotels while others bought snacks from food stands and street vendors. We arrived to the Dawn office at 1:30 p.m., half an hour late!

When we reached the gate, we met a sir who took us to the second story of the Dawn building where the newsroom was located and Ms. Arifa Noor was sitting in her office. The journalists and the photographers in the newsroom were excited to meet us and tell us about their profession. The same sir who greeted us then took us to a conference room which he had prepared for us before our arrival.

In the room, Ms. Noor, a sub editor of the paper, told us about Dawn and why journalism is important. Her lecture was short because she had to go to a meeting, but after her, two other sirs greeted us. These two people told us about how a newspaper is printed and the technologies used for it. They showed us the old machines as well as the new technology they use to print their newspaper. It was so amazing to seeing a printing press! We learned on this trip and it was a wonderful experience.

I am thankful to Ms. Mariya for this great opportunity. Thank you so much, Ms. Mariya!!

By Laiba Qaiser

An Educational Trip

On 15th July. I went to Islamabad and reached there around 1 p.m. I visited the Dawn newspaper’s Islamabad office with my fellow classmates on an education journalism trip to learn how a newspaper is printed. There, we meet the editor, Ms. Arifa Noo and got to ask her questions about journalism and her life as a journalist.

We saw the room where the newspaper is produced and printed. Our guide showed us various different machines and their functions. My favorite machine was the one that cut the newspaper from the rest of the roll sheet and folded it in half. The neatly folded newspaper is prepared and distributed to markets for sale.

We learned that newspaper print rolls are imported from Russia and 20,000 copies of newspaper can be prepared from each roll. The newspaper-printing machine, “Harris,” was made in the U.S.A.

After we visited the Dawn newspaper, we went to Faisal Mosque, a beautiful structure. We all really enjoyed this trip on our summer vacation. I will always remember this wonderful journey that Ms. Mariya took us on.

We returned to Abbottabad at 9:15 p.m.

By Mazhar Ali

A Wonderful Trip

On Friday, July 15h, it was our trip to Dawn, the bureau in Islamabad. We arrived to school at 7:30 a.m. in the morning and waited for Ms. Mariya.  Our school coordinator Ms. Beenish took our attendance before we started our journey. We left the school at 8:45 a.m. instead of the scheduled 8 a.m. The girls traveled on the Coaster big bus while the boys accommodated in a small yellow van.

We reached the Dawn news office by 1:30 p.m., half an hour late! Upon arrival, an old man greeted us and showed us the reporters’ room and newsroom. After that, we were led to a conference room where we met with the resident editor Arifa Noor who told us a lot of information about Dawn and journalism.

She told us that Dawn started in India. After the partition of Pakistan in 1947, it split from its original paper and became a separate entity. Ms. Noor also told us about Dawn’s news channel, radio station 89 FM, and monthly magazines. The magazine “Aurora” is about business; “Herald” is a news magazine; “Spider” is about the Internet and technology; and “Young World” is about children.

After that Khurram and Ilyas Bhatti came into the conference room. They told us how a newspaper is printed. Mr. Khurram told us that the production of a newspaper makes the “Y” shape. The two most important branches that form a newspaper are the editorial section and advertisement section.

Mr. Bhatti explained to us the printing process of a newspaper. He showed us how computers and other various machines work together to print a newspaper. After that, we went to the ‘factory’ where we saw the Harris machine, the printing press. They told us about the four colors, which are used in the making of newspaper: cyan, magenta, yellow, and key black. I learned a lot of information on this trip and I am thankful to Ms. Mariya for giving me the opportunity to learn how a newspaper is printed.

By Haleema Khalid

Visiting Dawn

On Friday, July 15th, we went on a field trip to see the Dawn newspaper. Dawn is one of the most popular and oldest newspapers in Pakistan. It has four branches: in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad (the one we visited) and Peshawar. We learned how the newspaper is organized and printed. Ms. Arifa Noor, one of the editors of the paper, told us about the difference between an editorial and opinion columns—something we had already learned in class from Ms. Mariya. She also answered all of our questions which we had prepared a day before.

For example, one asked, “Why is journalism important?”

Ms. Arifa responded, “Because we hold power accountable.” This means that journalists keep the people who hold power in check. Ms. Noor also said that the readers keep journalists in check by holding them accountable to print and report the truth.

Then the managers Illyas Bhati and Farrukh guided us. Farrukh let us in printing part. He showed us how newspaper printed. He introduce us various machines like Harris printing press, a costly machine imported from the USA, that prints thousands of fresh copies of Dawn for readers every day.

By Umer Rehman

Visiting Radio Pakistan

On Thursday, July 14th, we went to Abbottabad’s local radio station called Radio Pakistan. The girls were privileged for this field trip because due to time limitations, the boys could not go.

Basically we went there to learn about broadcast journalism, which is very different than print journalism in many respects. For example, people do not need to know how to read in order to understand news by hearing the radio or watching television.

At the radio station, we met Ms. Nadia Bano, who is “comparer”—a person who interviews others on a radio show. We also met some other people who told us interesting things about how a radio show is produced and the different sections of a radio station. One of those people was Sir Barkaat Ahmed, the engineer in charge. He told us about different techniques and equipment used for program on radio. We learned that in order to reduce a voice’s eco in the empty studio—the room where interviews are conducted—white-holed boxes filled with wool and crushed mirror were hung on the wall. These boxes absorb sound waves so they do not reflect back after striking the wall.

Mr. Ahmed also told us about the booth in which the radio program is set and controlled. We learned that in between the booth and the studio are a soundproof glass window and door. All this knowledge was new to all of us.

We also met Sir Amin Bangash, the producer who has been working at the station for five years. It was a pleasure to meet Sir Azhar Ali, the station’s director in charge. He has been working there since November 2008.

Before leaving, Ms. Bano, who has been working as a comparer for four years and her colleague Umer Malik interviewed every single one of us. They decided to do a show on us! We would be on the radio—how exciting! All of us enjoyed this trip and learned a lot.

By Rabia Shujah

Newspaper layout

This morning when we come to class, Ms. Mariya was already there. Class begins exactly at nine o’clock and Ms. Mariya is very strict about students being on time. When class begins, there is a formal ‘hello’ with our teacher. Then she takes our attendance, which is mandatory.

After general announcements, Ms. Mariya showed us copies of The Bowdoin Orient, her college’s weekly newspaper. We looked through the newspapers and browsed different sections like sports, arts and entertainments, features and opinion.

Then Ms. Mariya taught us about layout. Layout is the actual design of a newspaper. We learned about masthead, bylines, headlines, captions, and photo credits. A masthead is the title of a newspaper or a section. A byline is where the writer’s name and title are mentioned so we know who wrote the article. Headlines are titles of articles. They should be catchy, interesting, and must summarize what the article is about. Sometimes we also include sub-headlines, right below the headline. They give the reader a bit more information about the article. Captions are short descriptions below a photo that explain what is happening in the picture. Sometimes captions give information about the topic of the article. A photo credit is where the photographer’s name is printed so we know who took the photograph. A lead-in is a witty to grab the reader’s attention so they can read the caption and learn more about the article.

We also learned that articles are printed in columns. Because the width of each column is small, paragraphs in journalism writing are short, maximum three sentences.

In summary, we have learnt how editors on a computer screen produce a newspaper. Today’s lesson increased my knowledge and made me more informative about vocabulary which I had not even heard before. I am very thankful to Ms. Mariya for giving us such an opportunity to be familiar with journalism.

By Hira Liaqat

Thanks to Ms. Mariya

The main aim of journalism is to tell the truth about the world. We rely on journalists to tell us everything that we ourselves cannot access. For example, we depend on journalists to tell us the truth which is hidden from society. This summer, we were given the wonderful opportunity to learn about journalism. I am thankful for being selected to participate in this program led by Ms. Mariya Ilyas. Before this program, I did not have any idea of what journalism is or why it is important. But over the past few weeks, I have learned a lot. I am really enjoying the classes and everything that comes with it, even though it can be a lot of work sometimes.

Our teacher is very nice and sweet. It's clear to us that Ms. Mariya knows what she is talking about. Indeed, she is a journalist herself. She writes for Bowdoin College's weekly newspaper and even served as a section editor last year. We can tell Ms. Mariya put a lot of time in organizing this program for us. Her organization skills shine through when she teaches us. In this program, she requires us to listen to news daily. A good journalist is an informed journalist. We have current events quizzes three times a week. I like this habit of listening to news and keeping up with what's happening in the world.

We have learned that journalism is not an easy profession. It's stressful, demanding, and even risky. Sometimes journalists face ethical dilemma in which they have to make a decision between their duties and morals. However, all of this does not to discourage us. In fact, it encourages us to rise to the challenge of this noble profession.

All of us sacrificed our summer vacation to be a part of this program. We are so glad that we did because we learned something new and important. The class was taught in English, which also benefited us because we rarely get opportunities to speak English in school. The skills to speak, read, and write English are very important because they help us get into better colleges and universities, and later on in our future, get better jobs. In this way, Ms. Mariya is opening many doors of opportunities for us.

The program consists of many other activities, such as a field trip to Dawn newspaper in Islamabad. In August, we will print our own newspaper, which means interviewing special personalities at school, reporting on past and future events, taking pictures, editing each other’s work, and doing layout. All of these activities are very exciting and I can’t for them! Thank you Ms. Mariya for your time and energy you are spending with us. We are so grateful to you.

By Wajeeha Khurshaid

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Headlines, headlines!

Every article in a newspaper bears a headline. The headline attracts the attention of the readers. Editors try their best to come up with thrilling headlines and photo captions to grab the reader’s attention. Based on interesting headlines, readers pick up a newspaper on their own choice. This causes an increase in sale and income. This is why headlines are a very important part of newspaper selling and disseminating information.

When headlines are interesting, they grab the attention of the reader. Every headline must have an action verb. If there is no action verb, then the headline looks boring. A good headline can convey even a full message and can attract the reader to read the whole story. Some headlines are purposefully vague to keep the reader in suspense and force them to pick up a newspaper to read. A headline should promise that the time of reader is not going to be wasted if the reader reads the story.

By Yawar Hasnat

Interviewing is Vital

Interviewing is a very important part of journalism. Good interview must contain some spiritual questions. All those questions should be related to the given topic. Truth must be there. Person with whom we are taking interview should have an extra ordinary knowledge about the topic so that whatever he should answer must be true and knowledge for other peoples.

Aside from journalism, interview is one of the most significant factors in hiring. Perhaps the traditional interview is accorded too much power in selection. An interview must be in soft language so that one can easily and comfortably answer your question. Interview should be taken in a comfortable environment. And a person with whom you are taking interview must have enough time so that he can answer your questions fully.

For interviews such as jobs, the questions should be regarding both the job and the actual personality of a person as well his educational level. An interview determines one’s confidence level. The basic point of all interviews is to obtain information.

By Inayatullah

Importance of Data

Our brain absorbs information in many different ways. Some people understand through quantitative information and others through qualitative information. Therefore it is important to have data, numbers, words, and images in newspaper. As our world becomes very data-oriented. we find ourselves asking “how much?”, “how many?”, and “what amount?”

Numbers and data give us a new way of understanding the news. In fact, some news greatly depends on data, because without it, news seems incomplete. For example if a bomb blast took place in Karachi, the news would be incomplete if we did not report how many died, what date and time the event occurred, how much damage was done, and what amount of money is being spent for recovery.

Thus, numerical data sometimes provides the basis for a news article. If only words are used to present a story, then it may be skewed. Our bomb blast example may be reported qualitatively or quantitatively. Here’s the difference:

Qualitative: “In Waziristan, during a bomb blast, some people died, many got injured, and a lot of houses were destroyed.”

Quantitative: “In Waziristan, a bomb blast killed 16 people, injured more than 20, and destroyed nearly 15 houses.”

In first news lede, if people heard it, they would immediately want to know that exactly how many people died, exactly how many got injured, and exactly how
many houses were destroyed. In second lede, the journalist already answers those questions and does not leave the reader thirsty. Therefore, the second lede is much more reliable and informative.

However, it is important to keep in mind that journalists—and all professional writers—take advantage of presenting quantitative data. Using percentages is different than fractions, which is different than decimals. Because not everyone is literate in the different mathematical uses of numerical data, it can confuse or even deceive people. It is unethical to purposefully use quantitative data to mislead one’s readers.
By Fatima Qureshi

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Age of Information

I chose to participate in the summer journalism program for several reasons. One of the most important reasons is that I wanted to learn what journalism is. I have learned that it is a profession that tells us the truth and information about the events occurring around the world. Every individual has the right to judge the truth behind news and have his or her own opinion about it. This is called being free-willed and self-governing.

I can bitterly understand what is going to happen and what will be the lose gums in the future. This is the Age of Information and only those people are successful in society who have knowledge about things happening around them. It is very important to stay updated because if you are not, you may be called ignorant.

By Faizan Shaukat

Saleem Shahzad & Future of Pakistan

Saleem Shahzad has become an instant celebrity. As a journalist for Asian Times, he was kidnapped on May 27th when he was going for an interview in Islamabad. On May 30th, that is, after three days of his kidnapping, his dead body was found from canal bank in Mandi Bahauddin. His murder became suspicious after his postmortem report in which the doctor said that he died due to excessive torture. The report noted that some of his ribs were broken.

Before his death, Shahzad received threatening calls from unknown people after writing an article about links between the Karachi police and Al-Qaida. When Shahzad was found missing, Geo News reported that he had said, “If I will be murdered, the source behind my murder will be ISI.”

Indeed, in recent news, the ISI is accused for his murder. New York Times reported that ISI directed an attack on him in order to “silence the criticism.”

The news about Shahzad’s death is disturbing. It made me angry because Pakistan is said to be a democratic state, where free press is allowed to flourish. However, in reality, this is not happening. Journalism is dying instead of flourishing. I believe the government should take protective measures and find Shahzad’s murderers because we don’t want the world to have a wrong idea about Pakistan (as if they don’t already after 9/11). Cases like Shahzad’s could mean that no one will ever try to strive for truth again in this country. In Islam, murder of a single person is considered as the murder of humanity. Men like Saleem Shahzad who are truthful, honest, sincere and brave are quickly disappearing from the world.

After this incidence, a question raised in my mind that our authorities are becoming selfish. They don’t care about anybody; they just care about their seats. In this cruel world, nobody wants to hear the truth. It is true that “truth is bitter” but if society doesn’t bother it, then that society will be soon finished. Like Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel said, without news, “darkness” will fall. Thus, we should strive to keep the truth alive forever—and for that, we have to protect our journalists first.

By Mahnoor Hafeez

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

How to write features, review

On July 7th, we learned how to write a feature article and a review. These articles are significantly difference from news articles in that they are more descriptive and entertaining to read. There is far more creative flexibility allowed in features pieces than hard news.

A feature article is one that we write in descriptive language and in detail to grab the reader’s attention. It also reveals to the reader that the writer is putting spotlight on a report. Up to four paragraphs may be used for a feature lead. Good feature leads often use a lot of description, imagery, and figurative language to set up a scene for the reader. The purpose of a lead is to keep the reader wanting more. Thus, feature leads should be interesting.

After the lead comes the nut graf which provides background information and more context to the reader about the topic of the article (or the person if it is a profile). In the background we need to explain the five W’s and one H. We should make clear to the reader what we think or what is our point of view. We should always indicate our angle as soon as possible. The more quotes in a features article, the better it is. An article becomes much more lively if subjects are telling their own story.

A review is a features article in which the writer reflects on his own experience and provides feedback or gives suggestions to readers. Reviews can be about restaurants, movies, books, music, museums, places, tourist sites, and much more. Reviews are very influential because they have the power to make readers do something. They can make someone decide to spend or waste money, time or energy. Long-term columnists who have gained the trust of their readers are the most influential through their writing. At the end of a review article, we should give a ranking based on our experience. 

By Yousaf Tariq

How to write a news article

On July 6th, we learned how to write a news article. If you follow this step-by-step guide, you should produce a good news article:

1) Decide what your article will be about.

2) Research the topic of your article. Get as much background information as you can before you begin writing. This will help you better prepare yourself for your interviews.

3) Follow the inverted pyramid model to set up your story. The most important information should be at the top and the least important at the bottom.

4) The first paragraph, known as the lede, should answer these questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

5) Grab the reader’s attention by using an interesting opening sentence. You may ask a question, share an interesting fact, or write something the reader would not expect but be sure that you are reporting and not telling a story (allowed in feature articles).

6) After the lede, explain the background of the topic. These details form the nut graf of the news article. It is always a good idea to include one or two quotes from people you interview. Use action verbs so the reader feels things are really happening.

7) Be objective! A good new article is balanced in its coverage. Try to present as many sides of the story as possible.

8) Fill the rest of the article with other important details the reader needs to know.

9) The last paragraph should not summarize the article. The least important details or information should be stated in the last paragraph. You may sometimes end with a good quote.

10) Read your article and edit where needed. Make sure the article has a flow and structure that is easy to follow and understand.

11) Verify all facts. Confirm details you are unsure of. Double-check the spelling of everything—especially people’s names and places.

12) Check grammar, spelling, and other mechanics of your article before submitting to the editor.

13) Get some rest before you get your next assignment. :-)

By Sheryar Jamil

saleem shahzad

mahnoor hafeez blog here

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Free press and democracy

During the first week of class, we learned about free press and its link to democracy.

Media free of government involvement is called a free press. A more formal definition of free press is “the right to publish newspapers, magazines and other printed matter without restriction of the government and subject only to law.” Free press plays an important role in our society. It informs the public about issues they are unaware of. It also allows the truth to be published without consequences or fear from a higher authority. Freedom of the press is the freedom of communication and expression, and those freedoms cannot be taken away.

Censor means to review prior to publication or block news from being printed. Media should not be censored because it threatens the opportunity to tell the truth about the world. A free press is an uncensored press.

Free press ensures democracy exists in proper manner. Democracy is the form of government in which all citizens have an equal say and right in the decisions that affect their lives. The word ‘democracy’ comes from the Greek language, meaning “rule of the people.” In a democratic government, people have greater power than rulers because people have the right to vote. If people do not like their representatives, they can vote them out. Similarly, if they are pleased with their rulers, they will vote to keep them in power.

The basic principles of democracy are as follow:
1) It is ruled by the people. 
2) Elected and voted in by the people. 
3) Majority vote wins.

The link between free press and democracy is clear: people. People depend on the freedom of press to obtain the truth about what is happening within their own government and around the world. People hold power in a democracy. Thus, journalism is crucial for the existence of a peaceful, democratic nation. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn about journalism and indirectly participate in democracy—no matter how “corrupt” or “dysfunctional” it may be in Pakistan.

By Umair Saeed