By Sakina Mohamed
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 (Bernama) -- When a piece of breaking news makes it into your social media news feed, few think about the amount of work that goes into making it happen.
Professional journalism is not just a labour of love, it is an exercise in accountability. Fair and independent journalism often requires rounds of investigation – calls, visits and interviews – some of which can be unfruitful. There is reading, fact-checking, writing, rewriting and recording – and then there is the rush to meet deadlines and upload content across media platforms before other media outlets beat you to it.
Often, journalists have to arm themselves with knowledge of multiple industries, fields and disciplines before they can approach a subject for interview and write up about it.
The Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) journalist Ali Imran Mohd Noordin understands this all too well. Together with the Strategic Writing Desk Editor Nur-ul Afida Kamaludin, they worked on uncovering how Malaysia ended up becoming the dumping ground for waste from foreign countries.
“This assignment required a firm grasp of maritime laws and an understanding of ship parts, port systems and containerisation, among others. But in writing it, we had to make sure that it was done in a way simple enough for the average reader to comprehend,” he said.
The story, entitled Malaysia Polluted by Imported Waste
, is the article that Bernama has submitted in celebration of the World News Day (WND) today.
Bernama joins 38 newsrooms from across the world in promoting WND in the bid to raise awareness of the importance of professional newsrooms and quality journalism for proper governance and society in the region.
Set up as a statutory body by an Act of Parliament in 1967, Bernama began its operations in May 1968. It is known in Malaysia and among international media as a source of reliable and up-to-date news. Its subscribers include most Malaysian newspapers and electronic media, as well as other international news agencies.
Having started with only 44 staff, Bernama now has over 459 reporters, editors, photographers and video cameramen who report from the headquarters, bureaus in the 13 states and the federal territories of Labuan and Putrajaya, offices in Singapore, Jakarta and Bangkok as well as correspondents in in New York and New Delhi.
Bernama journalists have in the past bagged a number of awards for their work, including three Kajai Awards, the country’s highest journalism accolade.
On Sept 17, it went into the Malaysia Book of Records for going on air non-stop for 25 hours from 7 am on Sept 16, in conjunction with the Malaysia Day celebration.
Its editor-in-chief Datuk Mokhtar Hussain said that as a news agency, Bernama has come far from its days transmitting news via teleprinters.
“We are now focusing on delivering news via various digital platforms and utilising big data to help improve the services that we provide for our clients.
“We also want to continue being a reliable content provider to the masses,” he said.
The World News Day was hosted for the first time on May 3 last year by the Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) to celebrate the work of journalists and raise awareness of the value of fair, independent journalism. This year, CJF celebrated WND on May 2.
The WND is being organised by the World Editors Forum (WEF), the network for editors within the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers.
The WEF’s Asia chapter is spearheading efforts to include several newsrooms from Asia in the global campaign and it is being held on Sept 28 this year to coincide with Unesco’s International Day for Universal Access to Information.
Bernama, The Star, Sin Chew Daily and BFM are the participants from Malaysia while others include The Jakarta Post (Indonesia), the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Manila Bulletin (the Philippines), The Bangkok Post (Thailand), the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and The Hindu, Hindu Business Line and The Quint (India).
The list of articles from participating newsrooms from across Asia can be accessed by visiting http://worldnewsday.org.