Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Always a journalist...

Despite no longer being the New Straits Times (NST) Group Editor, Ahmad A.Talib never stops writing. Describing himself as "Ex (Axed) journalist", he continues writing about things close to his heart through his widely-read Pahit Manis blog.
We were fortunate when he slotted some time to share his thoughts about reporting with a group of senior journalists and editors at Wisma Bernama today.
He started reporting in 1972 with Bernama before being lured by the NST Group.
Ahmad remained ‘brutal’ about writing when he said it would be "sinful" in terms of professional outlook if editors stop doing so.
"In NST those days, we made it a point to get gatekeepers to circulate a “must-do” list.
"This is to make sure people who manage desks and units go out to meet their contacts, attend functions and write stories and features.
"We used to have bureau chiefs taking turn to write news analysis for a column which was prominently displayed on page 2 of the newspaper," he said.
It was regulated in such a way that the "13 or 14 bureau chiefs" knew whose turn it was to write for any particular day.
Because of the good understanding and teamwork they had, everyone was ensured of a two-week break before their next article was due.
"Everybody had a chance to write, they cannot hide or find excuses that they don’t have time because the articles would form the basis of their year-end appraisal.
"Once you become a journalist and you stop writing, you cannot qualify to be a journalist," said Ahmad, whose blog commands a respectable 400 to 500 hits a day.

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