Over the past decade or so media in Pakistan witnessed a big boom with the mushrooming of TV channels and websites but the scarcity of specifically trained and experienced professionals left a vast vacuum in the fast expanding industry. As a rule, a vacuum cannot remain unfilled for too long and that’s exactly what happened in Pakistan’s case.
The journalistic space was flooded by human resource with a large number not particularly groomed for challenging tasks that require a potent set of analytical and presentation skills.
Our media is still too far from coming of age and we are in an immense need of initiatives whereby journalists are put through training programs designed to equip them with a set of skills that can help them do justice to the job that has an impact on everyday life of the people.
The Center for Excellence in Journalism (CEJ) and Institute of Business Administration (IBA) recently concluded a training session whereby business reporters were trained on how they can effectively report a business development. The course was part of a series of training programs under the banner of CEJ-IBA with an aim to train journalists from across Pakistan on modern lines.
The Business and Economic reporting course was conducted jointly by veteran economic journalist Khurram Husain and instructor from Medill School of Journalism, Susan Chandler. The two-week course, indeed, helped the participants develop a good understanding of what a good economic/business story should or shouldn’t carry to have the intended impact on the readers. I can say this with confidence because yours truly was one of the participants.
Effective business reporting goes a long a way not only in highlighting issues for public awareness but also in suggesting effective ways and means to the government for their resolution.
Any major local or international event and almost every other decision made by government of a country or by any major economic player of the world invariably create ripples that directly or indirectly affect the common man of one country or more.
Thus reporting of such events by default assumes significance because the development will have its implications that one way or the other will have a varying degree of impact on the socio-economic environment and lives of the people.
The in-depth analysis and discussions that took place during the IBA-CEJ course revealed that the business reporting in Pakistan, even in today’s modern age of communication, largely lags far behind the acceptable standards.
Khurram Husain, who has been in the field of business and economic reporting for decades, is of the view that business reporting remains highly underserved in Pakistan. This, he said, holds true not only for the electronic media but for the print platforms as well.
Why is it so? Well, simply because the field requires unflinching dedication and a constant sense of inquisitiveness on the part of journalists. These requisites make the job a demanding task and thus a less attractive one for reporters to build a career in. But, once a business reporter sets his feet firmly on ground with integrity then the rewards that follow are great, says Husain.
“A compelling business report would inevitably entail some serious hard work which a reporter should be gladly willing to undertake,” says Khurram.
Presenting business news information in a form that is both readable and interesting for the people can be a tough task but that is essentially what a business reporter’s job is. There is no point in reporting a development if the report is overloaded with digits which hardly make any sense to the reader.
No story having substance can be produced without access to relevant official data and information. Equally important is cultivation and nurturing of credible sources that would come in handy every now and then for a business/economic reporter for verification, authentication as well as for putting together an exclusive piece.
In Pakistan the field of business and economic reporting is wide open and the rewards are amazing for those with passion to pursue this challenging career path provided they are willing to put in their heart, soul and sincere hard work.