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PPF Journalism Training Workshop, Murree

Location: Murree

Date: 4-6 September

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) organised a 3-day Journalism Training Workshop at Murree for local journalists and women from 4-6 Sept 2005.

Murree known as the queen of hill stations is Pakistan’s most popular holiday resort. Located only 45 kilometers from Islamabad and about six hours drive from Lahore it is crowded with holiday makers throughout the year. Its cool climate in summer attracts tourists and families to find a respite from the sizzling plains of Punjab and the rest of Pakistan. In winter its snow covered panorama attracts eager visitors from all over Pakistan.

The workshop held at the Municipal Library Hall, was attended by 18, including 10 women and 8 working journalists representing various national, regional and local newspapers and magazines. The PPF instructors team consisted of Mr.Fazal Qureshi, Chief Editor PPI & Vice Chairman PPF. Veteran local journalist and correspondent PPI Mr.Shafqat Abbasi acted as the local organizer of the workshop. Mr. Shafqat Abbasi in his brief opening remarks thanked PPF for organising the workshop at Murree. Mr. Shafqat said that PPF had organised a similar journalism training workshop at Murree Press Club three years ago. The present workshop was overdue since a large number of young journalists have joined the profession.

In his brief opening remarks Mr.Fazal Qureshi said PPF had been organizing similar workshops in a large number of cities in all four provinces of Pakistan. PPF, he said , had found highly enthusiastic response among the participants .For the last two years, he said PPF had included educated women in the workshops to enable them to write for newspapers on issues of their interest. After introduction by men and women participants the working sessions began. The first segment began with brainstorming about definition of news. This was followed by explanation of the principles of news writing, the concept of Inverted Pyramid in news writing , the principles of 5 W’s and one H. Every segment was followed by open discussion through questions and answers covering a wide range of subjects relating to news writing.

This was followed by a practical exercise on news writing. The participants were given basic material and asked to write a news item with a proper news lead. Quite a few of the participants did a good job of writing a news lead.
A discussion on principles of news ethics and new values was the next segment. The participants took part in the discussions and all aspects of journalism ethics including complaints about blackmailing and irresponsible news reporting were discussed threadbare.

The next segment was on article and feature writing. The lecture covered article writing from beginning to end, stage by stage, from how to select a subject, how to write a theme sentence to determine the parameters
of the subject, how to collect and sort out the material and how to write the article. The lecture emphasized the need for professional preparation of a neat and clean manuscript, the importance of photographs and finally on how to market articles and features in the media.

In the practical exercise that followed, the participants were asked to select a subject, write an article on some issue of their area which could be used for release to the newspapers. Part of the exercise was done as homework. Their output was then discussed in open session and evaluated. The last segment of the programme was about importance of maintaining reference records on subjects of interest to the writers.

Then an open discussion followed. Participants also gave their feedback about the workshop. Ms Shakila Sabir ,a local councilor said she found the workshop very useful since it helped her polish her writing skills. This is the first ever journalism workshop participated by me and I wish more women could get this chance, she said. Ms. Shabbana Inayat said that the three day duration of the workshop was not enough. It should be extended to at least one week. She also said that if the contents of the workshop had been fully publicized many other women would have attended the workshop.

Mr. Shafqat Hussain Abbasi, correspondent PPI said despite his long term as a working journalist he was glad he attended because he gained new writing skills and knowledge about improving his professional performance. Ms. Kawish Hussain, a local social worker said that the workshop had helped her acquire the skill and ability to write for newspapers .This skill was important for all but more specially for women and should be included in the educational curriculum at the graduation level.

Khawaja Wamiq Iqbal, correspondent Daily Azkar, Islamabad proposed that PPF should hold more such workshops specially for rural journalists who have no chances of any training about journalism. They need more knowledge not merely about writing but also about ethics and laws of journalism. Then the participants were given evaluation forms and asked to comment on the quality of the workshop and any suggestions they might have for further improvement.The closing session was presided over by Mrs. , the newly elected woman councilor of Murree .Ms. Shakila Sabir.

In her speech Ms.. Shakila Sabir praised PPF for having organized the journalism training workshop in Murree. She specially welcomed the measure for having included women in the workshop. She said this is the first time ever that any training facility had been provided to local journalists. Such training would not merely improve their professional performance but also enable them to report with responsibility.

The Chief Guest then distributed certificates among the participants.


List of Participants
Mst. Shakila Sabir
Women Welfare Society
Mst. Shamim
Welfare Society
Mst. Nasira Gulzar
Women Welfare Society Murree
Mst. Sumera Ahmed Deen
Women Welfare Society
Mst. Masooma Bibi
Women Welfare Society
Mr. Shafquat Hussain Abbasi
Al-Akhbar Daily Islamabad
Mr. Naveed Akram Abbasi
Mst. Farzana Shaheen
Women Welfare Society
Mst. Shabana Inayat Women Welfare Society
Mst. Fouzia Raziq
Women Welfare Society
Mst. Safia Naz
Tehsil Head Quarter Murree
Miss. Kawish Hussain
Joint Secretary
Women Welfare Society
Mr. Amjad Ali Razi
Khabar Nigar
Daily Islam
Mr. Tahir Mehmood Abbasi
Correspondent & Finance Secretary
Roznama Akhbar
Mr. Abdul Rahim
Roznama Khabrain
Mr. Sayyab Hussain Abbasi
Online International
Mr. Khwaja Iqbal
Bureau Chief Murree
Roznama Azkar Islamabad
Mr. Nazzar Ahmed Abbasi
Daily Ausaf