From the newsroom in Pakistan, to the newsroom in the US
By Moiz Karim
I am Moiz Karim, a journalist from Pakistan. I work for Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, commonly known as Radio Pakistan, as an editor in Islamabad.
Before Radio Pakistan I had worked for different regional and national newspapers and a newswire. I started my career at a local weekly newspaper and worked my way up to national dailies.
Getting a job with the national broadcaster in a country like Pakistan, which is the most dangerous country for journalists in the world, has been difficult, and having this international exposure is not less than a miracle for me.
After a year-long, highly competitive process with a series of challenging interviews, I finally got selected for the Pakistan-U.S. Journalists exchange program under the International Center for Journalists, along with 19 other journalists from different national broadcasters.
During my 40-day-long fellowship program, I will be working at Michigan Radio, the NPR affiliate in Ann Arbor, Michigan and visiting different broadcasting houses to see their work style and work environments.
During my visit I’m also experiencing the diverse cultures in the U.S.
My impressions of Michigan Radio
At Michigan Radio, the largest public radio station in the state, I am based in its newsroom, reporting and working on the web desk.
Before leaving for the U.S., we heard in our pre-departure session in Islamabad that we would be stunned and would experience culture shock.
Since I’ve been here, I’ve not only experienced culture shock, I’ve also been shocked with how the media operates in the U.S.
The concept of public TV and radio is extremely strange to me.
Media outlets here are concerned about the local issues. Each issue, ranging from education to health, traffic to road issues, human rights to economy, and politics to government, seem to have the same importance to them.
In Pakistan, most of the media organizations are private and owned by businessmen. They focus on national issues and spare less time for local problems. These channels go after big, breaking news events, and often sensationalize the news.
During my first week at Michigan Radio, I saw stark differences between newsrooms at home, and the newsroom here.
I’m from the mountainous region of Pakistan, where the people by nature are simple and are famous for their hospitality, so I’m not feeling that far away from my home.
I never saw any boss at Michigan Radio questioning employees about their work. It’s straightforward and smart in the newsroom here. Everyone has a job to do and they do it on time.
Journalists at Michigan Radio are very professional, hardworking, and friendly, and all the time they are supportive to each other and the trainees working here.
In other words, the office environment is free of bureaucratic and bossy behavior, and reporters go beyond the status quo.
My impressions of Michigan
It would be sheer injustice if I do not write about the natural people, natural environment, and the weather of Michigan.
The people are just amazing.
The people at Michigan Radio, or anywhere in Ann Arbor, are very caring, loving and very respectful.
I’m quite comfortable in this type of environment. I’m from the mountainous region of Pakistan, where the people by nature are simple and are famous for their hospitality, so I’m not feeling that far away from my home. There is also something about the weather that reminds me of home. The climate here is quite similar to the climate of my hometown in northern Pakistan (Gojal – Hunza Valley – Gilgit-Baltistan).
One of the strangest things I’ve noticed about the people here is how focused they are on their individual lives. Everybody is busy with their own business, and nobody cares who is who and what is what!
Another thing I’ve notice is how diverse the culture in Ann Arbor is. In this small town, I see people from all parts of the world.
While I’m here, I will be sharing my thoughts about my experience with you. Please look forward for my posts on Michigan Radio.