LAHORE: Ali Abid has been a journalist with Pakistan’s different English newspapers for the last 20 years. This is, however, for the first time, this Sheikhupura-based career journalist has posted his tweet, blog, and Youtube footage, all for the first time. Earlier, his brush with digital technology was only to mail his news stories to the newsroom.
He learned the usage of digital journalism tools and techniques for self-branding, news accuracy, crowdsourcing, data journalism and mobile phone journalism at a workshop – Digital Empowerment of Journalists – held in Sheikhupura on April 6 and 7 with the support of the US Mission in collaboration with the Pakistan-US Alumni Network (PUAN).
“I feel I’ve missed lots of time and lots of opportunities by not using digital journalism techniques in my career,” said Abid. He is determined to use social media sites and online sources his content promotion and news gathering.
Such workshops were held in Kasur (April 4 and 5), Sheikhupura (April 6 and 7), Okara (April 8 and 9), and Lahore (April 10-11), where more than 150 working journalists and student-journalists started their online journalism in hands-on activities.
“This workshop did not lecture us most of the time, but engaged us in practical work like using digital tools to detect misleading or fake content, capturing the best footage using a smartphone, and creating blogs, Youtube channels, podcast and twitter accounts,” said Naeem Sheikh, a Sahiwal-based TV reporter, who attended the Okara workshop.
Kasur workshop participants saw most of their areas so far uncharted, and hidden from the world for their culture, architectures, rites, people and saints have not been fully projected on social media.
Afzal Ansari, a print journalist, said the print media had limitation of space and time.
“A print story doesn’t tell everything because of the space constraints; the untold aspects can be brought to the world through a blog,” he said, adding that he would turn to blogging and tell untold stories.
The Lahore workshop was dominated by student journalists from the Lahore College for Women’s University, Punjab University and FC College besides working journalists from print and electronic media. Participants got a target of posting blogs, podcasts, video shows and tweets for career growth in the next three months.
Lead trainer and International Center for Journalists alumni Ahsan Raza said the future journalism was digital, and that meant it depended on technology. He said that in the age of media recession, digital journalism could provide space, opportunities and money to working and aspiring journalist.
Elizabeth Lee, Deputy US public affairs officer with the US Consulate General, Lahore, distributed certificates to participants in Lahore. She said the US government was so proud to support the PUAN Small Grant Program. In Urdu, she asked the participants if they liked the workshop. “Yes,” shouted the participants in a chorus. “Bahut Shukria,” she smiled, and concluded her speech.