Meet the Future News Conference 2017 delegates from Pakistan. 

Mahnoor Saeed
Kashmala Tahir
Nuaman Ishfaq Mughal

MAHNOOR SAEED – ISLAMABAD

Why did you want to attend the Future News conference?

I was, funnily, writing for my university's newspaper when a message by my A level career counselor popped up with a link to Future News Worldwide with the caption, 'this is meant for you'. And it most definitely was. For someone who absolutely loves analysing politics and writing about it, but lacked the knowledge on how to turn that into a lucrative career, the opportunity to meet up with those who have established their mark in the field was impossible to pass up on.

What made you want to become a journalist or become involved with the journalism?

When I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said the Prime Minister. Hailing from a family deeply involved in politics where the table talk over tea ranged from the local MNA's new initiatives to the rising rifts and strategies of the national level political parties to the global arena and how that would affect us, I couldn't help but be pulled in. Politics dominated my life. But as I grew older and explored other fields, I realized I excelled more in analyzing politics than being a part of it, and my interest in writing aided in my aptitude's shift towards journalism. 

Has attending the conference changed your perception of the profession in anyway? Or has it validated it?

I always knew that my choice of profession was going to be hard; the conference made me realize just how much. For a journalist to excel in today's world, simply having a fresh perspective or being impartial and reliable is not enough. In the world where anyone can pick up a smartphone and post a story, you have to be fast, innovative, and gripping in your approach. Having the representatives of Google and Facebook present throughout the conference reiterated the need for incorporating new mediums and avenues to stay relevant. But most important of all, I realized how important it is to verify, validate and re-asses to establish and retain trust among your listeners. A combination of going back to the basics, as well as innovating is essential.

What’s your advice for young people watching/reading the news today?

'Do not believe everything that you read' I think this advice goes out for any literate person consuming any kind of knowledge. With the technology at the readers' grasp today, it is not hard at all to spend a minute and verify information. Furthermore, they need to realize that the truth isn't that simple. If you are reading about the Israeli opinion against Palestinian fighters, look up the Palestinian plight against the occupation. If you're reading a post by a conservative, read one by an opposing liberal. Read, and read, sans any bias, before you form an opinion and start sharing it out on your Facebook or Twitter.

Describe your best moment at the Future News conference 2017.

A long, criticism-filled conversation with somewhat of a celebrity back home, Christina Lamb, about the future of politics in Pakistan.

KASHMALA TAHIR – KARACHI

Why did you want to attend the Future News conference?

My main reason of attending this conference was to see journalism outside the realm of my country and that of the few developed ones and hence understand more of its complexities, and to take a step back to learn about the current situation of the field and its prejudices. But most importantly, to further prove to myself that I do have what it takes to be selected out of a global pool of applicants. This selection was a self boost that I really needed. 

What made you want to become a journalist or become involved with the journalism?

I have always been fascinated with how stories shape our world and our perception of it, and I think this knack for a good story is what has maintained my interest in the journalism field amidst my changing professional goals throughout my life. Another factor that has always piqued my interest is the immense power the field can have or vice versa, i.e. being strangled by political and cultural influence 

Has attending the conference changed your perception of the profession in anyway? Or has it validated it?

I think both. Being an undergraduate student has not really exposed me to the actual professional dealings of a journalist in the field but rather its mostly theoretical knowledge and analysis of what we see in the media and what the general perception of what being in the journalistic field withholds. And I think this conference, for me, really shed light on how the field is under so much pressure and strangles on a global level than what I think of it to be, eg. I met delegates who have been jailed for writing and how different institutions are banned in certain countries and how such a situation is not limited to ‘my part of the world’.

What’s your advice for young people watching/reading the news today?

Learn to differentiate between real and fake news; the latter is in abundance.

Describe your best moment at the Future News conference 2017.

Christina Lamb, Chief Foreign Correspondent, the Sunday times told us about how she lost the recording of her last interview with Zia-ul-Haq just days before his plane crash. It was a moment that made me and my fellow Pakistani delegate gasp on the thought of what was said and lost.

NUAMAN ISHFAQ MUGHAL

Why did you want to attend the Future News conference?

I wanted to learn future trends of journalism before joining Future News Worldwide 2017 (FNW2017) conference. As I mostly engaged in sustainable development reporting, particularly in areas of environment and climate change, I wanted to acquire the essentials of future reporting in these topics. The conference was also an opportunity to learn about and adopt out of box methodologies in field of journalism as well understand the importance of covering diverse opinions about issues that people. These were the reasons, I was eager to become part of FNW2017 conference.

What made you want to become a journalist or become involved with the journalism?

I strongly believe in the quote, "If you want to change the world, journalism is an immediate short-term weapon". As a journalist, you have an opportunity to frame public opinion as you serve as watchdog and keep people informed. Journalism is the best platform for those who have have passion of public serving, humanity and global harmony. No other profession makes you boundaryless, flexible and blunt in expressing your point of view, helping others and brining out facts. Also, I like telling stories, making conversations, asking questions and constant learning.

Has attending the conference changed your perception of the profession in anyway? Or has it validated it?

Attending the conference gave me new insight into journalism. It has affirmed my theory that if today's journalism is aligned with modern technology, reporting can go beyond geographical boundaries and our voice will be more resonant. At FNW, I learned tools for news gathering and data verification, and new concepts for storytelling. Likewise, I learned that three things are required for trustworthiness in a media career– the story's accuracy, impartiality, and coverage of a range of voices. As a Journalist, we should use our judgment rather our opinion in reporting. This learning will no doubt mark greater impact on my career. 

What’s your advice for young people watching/reading the news today?

My advice for young people who watch/read news these days is to adopt critical thinking before believing what is being told to them. With advancement of Information Technology, people have now wider access to all sorts of news. With the ease in availability of information, propaganda journalism has also become widespread in media. Some news agencies and media organisations follow their particular agenda. Thus, there are serious doubts on credibility of news stories these days. Therefore people watching/reading these days should be critical in questioning authenticity of news and understand hidden objectives before believing stories.

Describe your best moment at the Future News conference 2017.

Meeting and interviewing Charles Lewis, founder of International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). In his interview, Charles Lewis applauded the efforts of Pakistani reporters, editors and news organisations that courageously do investigative reporting under tough circumstances.