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American Journal: Day Three

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Shoukat Zardari interviews WRCB reporters Gordon Boyd and Callie Starnes Shoukat Zardari interviews WRCB reporters Gordon Boyd and Callie Starnes

By Shoukat Zardari, AWAZ-TV Anchor from Karachi, Pakistan

My day started with daily news meeting on Wednesday followed by an hour-long discussion with WRCB assignments manager Melydia Clewell and Sara Anne Rook, producer, about the future of my region. We were discussing faith, U.S. policy, the Arab world, and whether our two countries would be friends if another world war takes place.

The interesting thing which I found here was the regional importance of Pakistan and the American people's agreement that Pakistan is an important country. However, both governments have somewhat ignored the people of Pakistan. They are not handled in a way that they should be.

Every time we hear that the Taliban and militant groups have safe heaven there in Pakistan, I want to ask "Who is funding them?" As far as I know the Pakistan government is not financially supporting these guys to attack our children like 14-year-old peace activist Malalai Yousufzai. So we should go to the deeper side of the picture and we need to cut their financial supply line.

In the afternoon I went to shift my luggage from one hotel to another in Chattanooga. Photojournalist Jared Guest took me there and when I got into the room I found an electrical problem. I knew that since this is U.S the problem would be fixed when I got back there in the evening. The problem got fixed and I was relaxed.

The other interesting thing in the day was a dinner at Big River Grille. Dinner was hosted by Mr. Derrall Stalvey, my news director. We were joined by one of Mr. Stalvey's television colleagues from Chicago, Laura. I shared lots of stories with Laura. She was a very kind lady and I hope she was not the only one who kept on listening to me and at the end she said she enjoyed the discussion.

I told Laura about my family as well as my good and bad experiences in journalism there in Pakistan. She also shared her stories back in Abu Dhabi where she did not understand Arabic but said she trained about how to improve the presentations or Arabic-speaking anchors. Most of Pakistani anchors have presentation skill problems. That is why I asked Laura to be my guest there in Pakistan.

The interesting thing in the dinner was the grilled chicken, which is the same as we have back in Pakistan. So now I have stop missing my home and have made Chattanooga as my second home. I hope the citizens of Chattanooga will accept me.

I was sitting in the newsroom all day and just observing how things were going on. As I mentioned earlier about my hour long discussion with two of my newsroom friends caused me to miss the opportunity to explore outdoor coverage. I hope the next day brings more learning from the field to share with you again.

Editor Note: Shoukat Zardari is visiting WRCB for the month of October to learn about U.S. media coverage. He is part of a foreign journalist visitor program supported by the U.S. State Department. WRCB is one of 14 American media organizations hosting a Pakistani journalist. Click here to learn more about Mr. Zardari's visit.

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