Learning the art of reporting (Book Review)

2016-06-17T16:11:58+05:00 Faizan Hussain

The role and status of journalism has undergone profound changes since the advent of electronic media. The Press has earned recognition as the fourth pillar of the state and scope of journalism has widened over the years. Reporting, one of the basic elements of journalism is becoming more challenging and multi-dimensional. Largely, reporting is done for print and electronic media but in recent years it has gained importance for blogs and other online sources. Thus responsibilities of reporters have increased manifolds.

In this challenging field there is not a single book available in Pakistan which can provide guidance to the young reporters and can be helpful for seniors as well. Shahbaz Akmal Jandran has filled up this vacuum with his book ‘Reporting’, which has been recently published by Pakistan Press Foundation. According to my little knowledge this is the first ever book written by a local reporter which directly relates to the practical tips and knowledge of reporting and provides to the point guidelines and information. In its 360 pages it provides more than 5500 tips and ideas and covers 140 plus beats related to the field of journalism.

The book is divided into four parts. The first part explains in details what is beat, its kinds and what are well known beats. Court reporting, assembly reporting, sports reporting, political parties’ reporting etc fall in this section. The second part is about events and festivals reporting. In this section the author explains all the beats which are related to our religious or cultural festivals or unfortunate happenings like earthquake, bombing or fire incidents etc. The third section beats related to national, semi national organizations on provincial level. For example, food department, education department, energy department, anti corruption department etc. The fourth section is about national or semi national organizations on federal level. Nepra, FBR, Ogra, Nadra, Pasco, SNGPL are a few examples.

Shahbaz has thoroughly discussed every beat from its basic to established rules. He provides a complete guideline that how a new reporter can establish his/her relations in any particular beat, what can be the best sources and how investigative stories can be discovered. The appreciative aspect of the book is that its approach is very practical and instead of giving useless details it provides to the point information and covers almost all the aspects, tips and the principle of a particular beat.

The book is a comprehensive guide for all the young reporters who join the field after completing their education. At this stage when they need to understand the basics of this field, the book can serve the best purpose. At the same time it is equally useful for senior reporters who face difficulty when their beats are changed or assigned an additional beat to cover. It is an equally useful and authentic manuscript for them. Thirdly, it is also helpful for correspondents of newspapers and TV channels who work in far off areas. They don’t have regular meetings with their pool reporters to share their experiences and getting new tips from their senior colleagues. The book has valuable tips and knowledge for them too.

The book can truly be called an encyclopedia of reporting and worth buying for every journalist. It is a good effort made by Shahbaz Akmal Jandran and the book has filled up a major gap in the literature of reporting. Its price is Rs1,200.

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