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‘News Writing Standard Very Poor in Pakistan’: Ayaz Amir

DESPARDES — The standard of news writing is very low in Pakistan as there are many grammatical and spelling mistakes in news reports; also Urdu press has no economic writers. These views were expressed by renowned senior columnist Ayaz Amir in an interview with The Educationist.

The Educationist: You are a renowned column writer. When did you start this journey?

Ayaz Amir: I started my work in 1978 as a column writer. I was very young. At that time I struggled so hard that I never did that much struggle again.

The Educationist: Is column writing different from other types of writing?

“If we look at our country, our standard of news writing is like they can’t even write simple news story as it always have grammar mistake and sentence mistake”

Ayaz Amir: Newspaper writing and journalistic writing has a specific style. For column writing, you need more journalistic sense, because column is always precise. You have to explain all aspects but before everything you have to grab and capture the interest of the readers from the very first line.

The Educationist: Were you impressed by anyone’s writing style?

Ayaz Amir: I had many role models and I wished many times that May Allah make me like those journalists. I always adore the column of Sir Hussain Naqi, a senior journalist. I always wanted to be like him. I also adored many writers of the English newspaper The Guardian, The Observer etc. I was also impressed by many figures of English literature like the author of Gulliver’s Travel, Jonathan Swift. They have very simple, effective and powerful style of writing; I always want to write like this.

The Educationist:  How do you manage your professional life with your personal life?

Ayaz Amir: I have never faced problems regarding this. My personal life had a factor of wandering. When a person has this type of temperament and nature then he could only be a journalist, musician or you can only dance on well of death because with this type of temperament you wouldn’t like government job.  So my professional life suits with my personal life and I’m happy with that.

Pervez Musharraf gave freedom to channels then the demand raised for faces who could speak and present on TV screens

The Educationist: How do you analyze and interpret news and information received from different sources?

Ayaz Amir: Actually, I never did reporting, I always did column writing and editorial writing. But you have to counter-check your information from other sources and from eye witnesses as well. For example, if someone tells you about an incident at the Punjab Assembly, you must have to go there and confirm the news. Because it may be a sensational news. You should confirm it again and again, and as a journalistic duty you should at least go there to verify the news.

The Educationist:  How journalism students can start a successful career in this field?

Ayaz Amir: The main thing in journalism is “Power of Word”. Whether you read or write, you should be an expert and have command on your words. Your liking should be with your words. It is only possible if you’re familiar with the world of words. I mean to say you should have interest in reading. If you don’t have interest in reading you should not choose this field. Whether you read Chinese, Turkish, Urdu or English, you should have love for reading and writing words. You should have command on literature and history. 

The Educationist:  What are the flaws, shortcomings and gaps in our journalism?  

Ayaz Amir: If you don’t know how the 20th century started, what were the circumstance in the Subcontinent and in England? How Russian revolution came? How the rise of Hitler started? What were the causes of Second World War? How the world changed after World War II? If you don’t know about these changes, you shouldn’t choose journalism as a profession. Otherwise, you’ll do “Munshi Geeri” and not journalism. If we look at our country, our standard of news writing is like they can’t even write simple news story as it always have grammatical mistakes and sentence structure mistakes. In Urdu newspaper, you can’t find even a single writer who can write properly on economics. Can you imagine we have Urdu press but don’t have economic writers? So these are the shortcomings and gaps.

The Educationist:  Do you think the media industry has to face pressures from political parties?

Ayaz Amir: No, this type of problems never happen. It’s not about control, it’s about affiliations. Different journalists have different interests as everybody has. I don’t remember that I ever faced this type of pressure from political parties, it is our support for them.

The Educationist: Are you satisfied with your profession?

Ayaz Amir: I am very satisfied.                       

The Educationist: What do you suggest to newcomers regarding this field?

Ayaz Amir: I’ll say work hard. You never know that how much hardship we face to reach this point. Those who really want to join this field should make their name in print media and then in electronic media.

 The Educationist: This field looks glamorous. Why do you think is it so or is the reality different?

Ayaz Amir: No, only youth and teenagers consider this field glamorous since TV channels came. Before TV channels, it was never so glamorous. Before TV channels, only unemployed people joined the newspapers. Rare people were there who wanted to choose this field by their interest. Pervez Musharraf gave freedom to channels then the demand raised for faces who could speak and present on TV screens. So, the youth came and also got good salaries that were never before. So the glamour came due to the advent of private TV channels. (END)

Read some of Ayaz Amir’s columns here…

2 thoughts on “‘News Writing Standard Very Poor in Pakistan’: Ayaz Amir

  1. Informative interview,.
    I totally agree with him that good vocabulary is essential in this field.

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