Jamil Akhtar — We called him Daddy
He had many names. To his face, we referred to him as Jamil Sahib. On a more formal note, he was introduced to newcomers as the night editor. For those whose pages he pored over late into the night
Journalism: One profession so easy to get into, only in Pakistan
You cannot practise medicine without passing MBBS. You cannot be called a lawyer without completing LLB. You cannot qualify to be a professor if you have not completed PhD. You cannot even claim to
Hamid Mir - Just another journalist
I like to think of myself as an easygoing, relaxed, ‘nothing bothers me’ kind of person. But every now and then along comes an incident that gets me frothing at the mouth and literally
The fake news invasion - take care!
Journalism after witnessing many changes over the last two decades has entered the age of fake news. This age is going to last for quite some time unless Internet users use judgment and think twice
Inside the newsroom on budget day
ISLAMABAD - The newsroom is in a flux. A hectic day with lots of work and activity. In the good old days everybody, including the editor, would be in the office early. Though reporters come up with
Nasir Zaidi and his group: They stood up to a dictator
ISLAMABAD - Press freedom or what it is perceived as in Pakistan, still has a long way to go and what has been achieved so far has been done at a great price and through great sacrifices.
When editors were editors
Nowadays when owners and editors of newspapers in Pakistan flaunt their photos and statements prominently on the front and back pages, it is obvious they have failed the test of an unwritten princi
Sins of the crime reporter
All you have to do is pick up the newspaper and read through the city/local pages to realize that in the past so many decades nothing has changed when it comes to reporting crime.
By-line - A contentious issue
The scene is familiar. A fired up reporter, a stubborn sub-editor or producer, the newsroom looks on with rapt attention as accusations and counter accusations fly thick and fast. There are snigger
The 'one' that's not needed
ISLAMABAD: Ever wonder why subediting becomes monotonous over a period of time? Well, that's because the subs get to edit and rewrite much the same stuff each day. Their creativity hardly comes
How a paper was shut down 50 years ago
With hundreds of newspapers, TV channels and FM radio stations, Pakistani media today report everything under the sun – well almost everything. And there is no fear of being permanently close
Time to get a khoka
Ran into one of the younger guys I once mentored at a news channel. He was a participant in one of those workshops that have become all the rage these days. I was there as a skeptical observer look
Newsrooms, hardly the place for women
Journalism is serious business. It's a profession not an excuse for one. It is motivational and educational. There is honor involved. There are ethics. There is ambition involved. It's not fun
Why I rejoined the newsroom?
Working the night shift in different prestigious English newspapers — beginning 6:30pm to 2:00am — for over 20 years had been a thorn in my side. Slowly but steadily, it was eating into
Workshop trekkies and online mullahs
Absolutely positively confident that you must have been bamboozled by the headline. I apologize. Let me say from the very get go that neither have anything in common other than plenty of time on th
The league of extraordinary multi-taskers
My colleague Imran Naeem has been bugging me again. "Give me a story," he demands. I send him a list and point out, quite unequivocally too I must add, that I'm not in the mood to wri
The day Dawn became Herald
It was on 1 April 1950. No, it was not an April fool’s day joke but a pressing matter of where Dawn newspaper belonged – Dawn Trust or Pakistan Herald Ltd.
Newspapers vs anchors
Came across this interesting piece about how technology has changed our everyday life in so many ways in what we do or no longer do, or do differently.
It got me pondering about how we n
Pranks and newsroom tales
It’s inevitable; when two journalists meet after a long time and are done bitching about incompetent chief subs, bossy chief reporters, stupid news editors, the editor’s blue-eyed boy,
The newsroom bullshitter
There’s at least one in every newsroom and he doesn’t feel shy to air his opinion at the drop of a hat. Of course, he knows more than you; has more contacts than you do, has done more s
The yearly visit and false promises
ISLAMABAD: It’s an annual scene, visit, and ritual at newspapers. The desk people are busy in their routine work in the newsroom, with reporters looking for news and of cours
Lost in transition
Although the chatter and clamor of editors and reporters in a newsroom remain the same, it’s truly amazing how technology and culture have changed so many other aspects that were once integra
Our media's embarrassing degeneration
Certainly there are more reporters and journalists now than when I was in active journalism. But this doesn’t necessarily mean more is better. On the contrary, it has proved just the opposite. A
A scoop too hot to handle
ISLAMABAD: Today all news is breaking news, no matter how trivial. Moreover, triviality is only enhanced by the never-ending repetition of breaking news.
In yesteryear w
Yaar... I do not have a story!
If you’ve been in a newsroom long enough there is one lament you will hear often enough: “Yaar… I don’t have a story!”
You look around and of course it&rsq
An enduring affair with foolproof security
We live in insecure times – both physically and mentally. As Pakistan has been at the forefront of the ‘war on terror’ every festive occasion is also marked by fear of violence. T
Catwalk glamor to newsroom clamor
The problem with fashion photography is that everything is fake… from the models’ make up to the lighting to the final product, but news photography is the genuine thing; often you nev
The voice is free to speak
The Pakistani media has a come a long way over the years. From an industry comprising a handful of newspapers and a couple of news channels, of which two were state-owned, it now has close to 100 T
Journalists and fellowship antics
The general perception in the journalistic community in Pakistan is that the difficult part is managing to wangle a fellowship in a Western country, be it through the right connections, being at th
Ramadan in the newsroom
It's Ramadan again, that time of the year when the newsroom has a certain ambience and mood that’s not there for the other 11 months of the year. Seen plenty of newsrooms in my time an
If Veena were an editor...
Hit a writer’s block today. Just could not decide on what to write. The words refused to stick until my friend called me and said, “Why don’t you do a Veena story?”
TV anchors and their wicked, wicked ways
Gone are the days when actors were the sole participants in the race for the ‘No. 1’ position for attention. Television anchors today are very much part of this game but in a different
The vicious cycle of delayed salaries
Pakistani journalism has witnessed sea changes over the last decade. It has become more aggressive in its outlook with the arrival of TV channels as has now an army of young journalists, who are bold
Nusrat's obsession with Veena
ISLAMABAD: Every writer should have a muse. This source of inspiration could be a person, a place, a thought, even an object. But yes, a muse is a quintessential part of a writer’s person
Those damn press releases
Be it a newspaper or news channel newsroom, in this particular scenario the reaction is always the same: "Not another bloody press release" or "Bhain---d!! Yeh kahan say ah tapka
TV talk shows...no substance, all bluff
I’ve always enjoyed a good healthy argument for the simple reason that new and interesting perspectives are aired, alternative logic is exchanged and, more often than not, a viable, favorable an
Forgotten on the desk
Sub-Editors are an endangered species in Pakistan. They are fast disappearing. So much so that today many, including some ‘senior journalists’, question if Sub-Editors are journalists or n
Is this ethical?
KARACHI: At the risk of putting my foot in my mouth I do declare that it’s never been better for certain journalists in Pakistan i.e. in terms of making a few quick bucks, op
Dedicated to our better halves
My Indian journalist friend and former colleague from the Khaleej Times, Asifullah Khan, has a wry sense of humor. Ironically, he would and could find something amusing when nobody els
The newsroom, the centre of it all
A newsroom never changes, I have been told. Maybe, a few alterations here and there, some upgrading, refurbishing…but basically almost everything stays the same and it doesn’t matter what
Five-day week for journalists!
Asking for two holidays a week for journalists in Pakistan may be asking for something out of this world.
But perhaps this is one thing Pakistani journalists need urgently that would help t
More to him than meets the eye
In recent times he’s interviewed President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard A. Boucher and controversial f
Nothing quite like The Muslim
They come and they go, but no English daily has quite had the legend-like impact of The Muslim (1978-1999). Despite better technology and information network capability and capacity, not The
From 'urging unity' to 'enthralling audience'
Some headlines have become inseparable part of our genes, culture and of course the media. They automatically step forth as soon as they are needed. They are so strongly embedded that even an effort t