Advanced Reporting with focus on Feature Writing and Social Justice Issues
KARACHI: For the second time, the Centre for Excellence in Journalism (CEJ) organized a course on advanced news reporting but this time, the course focused on feature writing and social justice issues. The classes ran from January 16 to 27, 2017 at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi.
The course was co-taught by an award-winning journalist who teaches at Northwestern University, Deborah Douglas and a senior journalist, Mubashir Zaidi of Dawn News. He is currently working as an editor investigations and host of program "Zara Hat Kay".
Twenty-three working journalists from across Pakistan attended the training module which was offered for the first time in November 2015 and was one of the most popular courses offered by CEJ.
"Advanced Reporting" course taught the participants how to write compelling feature articles after they were introduced to tools for finding and framing interesting subjects. They also went through the writing process that carries a story from concept to publication.
The students, along with their trainers, explored different models and devices for structuring stories. Not only they learned to constructively critique others ' work and be critiqued themselves, they also evaluated the importance of background for context, focus and sources.
To supplement the daily lectures, there were several guest sessions too. Senior journalists and analysts of program "Zara Hat Kay" at Dawn News, Wusatullah Khan and Zarrar Khuhro had interactive sessions with the students of "Advanced Reporting" course.
Badar Alam, editor of Herald magazine, also had an insightful session on writing impressive feature stories. He later answered students' questions regarding feature writing and differences between news and features.
There were some special sessions on Skype as well. Michelle Herrera Mulligan, former editor at Hearst magazines gave a talk on structuring stories and pitching them. Sanjena Sathian, Asia editor of Ozy.com joined the students from Mumbai, India.
John Yearwood, chairperson of International Press Institute and former world editor of Miami Herald, did a session on thought leadership. Another interesting session on using video to enhance feature coverage was conducted by Cesar Torres who is a professor at Medill School of Journalism, Chicago.
Expressing her gratitude to her co-trainer and guest speakers, Douglas said, "Thanks to my teaching partner Mubashir Zaidi and the fabulous journalists who lent me their energy and intellect".
One of the participants, Minerwa Tahir from Express Tribune said, "Following Deborah's footsteps, I will always do my best to become, as she would often say, the voice of the voiceless".
The training ended with certificate distribution ceremony and end note speeches by the trainers- Deborah Douglas and Mubashir Zaidi- and CEJ director, Kamal Siddiqi.