By Shoukat Zardari, AWAZ-TV Anchor from Karachi, Pakistan
Chattanooga for me is just like Islamabad. The way this city's roads and roofs have been developed resembles the capital city of Pakistan. Weather in Chattanooga is excellent. Yesterday, I had a fever which caused me to oversleep. This was for the first time during my trip that I did not go to station on time with my News Director. I was feeling bad about it too. Life goes on.
The day started with the morning editorial meeting and I just kept listening to everyone. This is how I choose the subject to cover with fellow reporters. On Tuesday, I went to the report of an environmental issue with fellow journalist Gordon Boyd and photojournalist Jared Guest. We went to a business in Georgia where we had news of chemical waste being mixed in a creek and potentially harming wildlife and fish. This was my second time reporting with Gordon, who is really an amazing guy.
This time I did not just learn about news coverage, but the story also taught me how people are concerned about their environment and wildlife. Gordon kept calling an employee of the company to learn what he saw two days before. A citizen just came over and told us that a few days back, the creek filled with rainwater and the company drained its waste into that which killed fish in the creek. When Gordon asked him why he thought authorities should know about this the man replied, "I can't see wildlife being damaged like this and it hurts me a lot."
Even a common man of this country thinks the environment is important. I have felt that in U.S everyone, or at least the majority, has a sense of responsibility which I see less back in my country. Maybe this is the reason that we are far behind other nations. Today again we faced the same problem of private property issue. This really irritates me because if a journalist wants to get access to the place where the real story is and is stopped because of some laws than it makes his job difficult to know and see the actual facts.
We tried to roam around the creek to see if we can still find some clues but unfortunately we did not see anything. The EPA authorities were helpful to Gordon and they shared all information he required so it made our story up to the mark.
After the field work we came back to the newsroom and to complete the story. I must say that every minute in my newsroom and in the field is a learning experience for me. I am really thankful to the International Center for Journalists to attach me with such a group of hardworking professionals. The people of Channel 3 are not only committed to provide accurate information to their viewers but are friendly in sharing experiences and discussing issues as well.
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.