NUST policies and the reporter at DAWN

I woke up in the morning and browsed Dawn News as per my routine ritual. I follow Dawn because I find it way better than others when it comes to responsible reporting. The news of Baluchistan Earthquake and scroll….Wait…What? “NUST fines girls for wearing jeans, tight.” It has made to the News? Having clicked on the article, my instant reaction was “Man seriously? This isn’t even newsworthy.”

I would like to share my insight on the article based on the basic knowledge I have gained regarding responsible reporting in my 3 years of learning Journalism. First of all the biggest flaw in the article was generalization in the topic. Yes fine on jeans and tights is a policy, it exists, but not at NUST. It is implemented ONLY at one of the schools of the institution which is NUST Business School. And it is obvious that jeans is not a formal dressing when it comes to business students, hence no beef about it. As for the tights, they are also not part of dress code. The dress code existed since day one but as the implementation of fines formally started, the whining thus began.

The voices quoted in the article comprises of two faculty members, a PR officer, PSO Rector and few students (tweets). Both of the faculty members were kept anonymous, while one may be from the H12 campus, the other was from Rawalpindi. It is basic rule of journalism that you should quote relevant sources. There are always exceptions when it comes to the issue of non-availability. But quoting sources that are not even directly related to the issue at hand is not a wise move of a journalist. How is a PR Officer or PSO Rector related to the management issue at NUST Business School. And also an issue which is a part of the policy of the institution, just like any other institution in the whole world. Reporting about such an issue is like reporting on, for instance an issue that the XYZ News Organization doesn’t allow News Casters to go on air without makeup. This is not news because it is so obvious.

The article also quotes students ranting about the issue. You seriously cannot just go online and choose few lines that best fit for your article and make them part of a news article and viola! I mean, people talk with millions of angles and perspectives, how can you just quote a few and give them the position of representatives of an issue at hand?

As for the repudiation, each institution has its media policy. Media needs to realize that they don’t have the right to shove their mikes at every other person and make them gag about the information they are looking for. Just like you keep your secrets and decide to stay silent on public issues like the leaked Media Commission Report, how can you consider it your right to know each and every information that is not even a serious concern or doesn’t even fit the standard of being made to the news?

DAWN, I am not going to generalize you as an irresponsible News organization based on just one article because I have been taught to be objective and unbiased. I have been taught to be a journalist who isn’t commercially driven but someone who holds the authorities accountable for issues that have an impact on our lives.

Peace.

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