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 senior analyst and writer Ayaz Ameer during an interview with The Educationist. Following are the details:
The Educationist: You are a renowned column writer. When did you take a start to this journey?
Ayaz Ameer: 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 writings?
Ayaz Ameer: 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 anybody’s writing style?
Ayaz Ameer: 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 English newspaper The Guardian, The Observer etc. I was also impressed by many figures of English literature like authors 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 Ameer: 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.
The Educationist: How do you analyze and interpret news and information received from different sources?
Ayaz Ameer: 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 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 being a journalistic duty you should at least go there to verify news.
The Educationist: How journalism students can start a successful career in this field?
Ayaz Ameer: The main thing in journalism is “Power of Word” whether you read or write, you should be 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 of reading. If you don’t have interest of 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 Ameer: If you don’t know how 20th century started, what were the circumstance in Subcontinent and England? How Russian revolution came? How the rise of Hitler started? What were the causes of Second World War? How 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” 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 grammar mistake and sentence mistake. In Urdu newspaper, you can’t find out even 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 that media industry has to face pressures from political parties?
Ayaz Ameer: 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 you profession?
Ayaz Ameer: I am very satisfied.
The Educationist: What do you suggest to newcomers regarding this field?
Ayaz Ameer: 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. What do you think is it so or the reality is different?
Ayaz Ameer: 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 newspapers. Rare people were there who wanted to choose this field by their interest. Pervez Musharraf gave freedom to channels then demand raised for faces who could speak and present on TV screens. So, youth came and also got good salaries that were never before. So the glamour came due to the advent of private TV channels.