On the first morning of my internship at Business Recorder, I did not know what to expect as a 16-year-old — heading into a workplace for the first time.
I study in London, and came back for a summer break. I was told a short internship at Pakistan’s only financial publication would be a good idea to prepare me for the business/economics studies I would be pursuing.
I felt nervous, but also excited for the four weeks ahead. Coming in with an open-mind, I felt ready to learn, sharpen my skills, and build my knowledge.
Before the internship started, I had thought that the newsroom would be a well-structured and highly-organised work-place. Nonetheless, I had no prior experience in the industry and was intrigued to know how things worked in a media house.
The atmosphere in the newsroom was not as structured as I imagined it would be.
The Business Recorder digital wing shared the same room as the Aaj TV digital folks, which meant that things were very hectic as people were shouting non-stop on different stories and headlines — diverse as they were given the two entities.
There was also a bit of a culture shock coming from the UK, especially since emails were not used – to the extent that the mail application had been deleted from all desktop computers in the room – and all business was done using personal WhatsApp accounts instead.
Additionally, it was interesting to experience a bilingual workplace, as everyone kept interchanging between speaking English and Urdu.
It was a new experience and turned out to be great and exceeded my initial expectations of how the internship was going to be. I loved the friendly nature of the people that worked there and how welcoming they were to me as an intern.
My day-to-day activities included writing reports on business and financial matters of relevance in Pakistan. I would arrive at the office at 11am and would leave at 4pm, as these were the busiest hours in the newsroom. Everyday at around 3pm, I would spend some time with the editor discussing my work throughout the day and I would get the opportunity to ask him any questions that I had.
Over the course of the internship, I was curious to know how the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) worked and so many questions filled my head.
When I first came to the newsroom I had no prior knowledge about the PSX, the Pakistani economy or even about media houses themselves.
What did all the indices mean? What was the futures market? How did the points system work?
However, all my questions were clearly answered by the editor who even gave me a live demonstration of real-time trading.
As my questions got answered, new ones kept popping up.
I was particularly interested in learning how information was gathered for the articles that got published on the Business Recorder website.
In order to understand this, the editor instructed me to conduct an interview with the BR lifestyle editor. The interview enabled me to appreciate the lengthy process behind asking the questions, recording and transcribing the discussion, and finally, confirming the information with additional sources before using it in the article.
Using the interview transcript, the editor showed me exactly how to convert an interview into a story, which was a fascinating concept.
Journalists are also stakeholders in news, but they are expected to be unbiased.
I feel that this is not always possible, as even if remaining impartial is the key to journalism, a little bit of personalisation does creep in. How to avoid this is key. This is because being objective is crucial when reporting an issue considering both sides of a problem. It means that one gives a voice to people of differing viewpoints, resulting in multiple opinions and perspectives to address in an article; I believe that this is exactly what a journalist is supposed to do. They cannot let their personal views affect the process.
As part of my experience at Business Recorder, I wrote many reports and analytical pieces on the economy as well as the fluctuating relationship between the US Dollar and Pakistani Rupee, and the PSX.
I particularly enjoyed conducting research on the economic impact of the Pakistan cricket team playing home matches in the United Arab Emirates. I was captivated by the consequences of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) being unable to host matches at home for a 10-year period as a result of terror concerns and how this absence of cricket played in the country affected the economy. It was also interesting to see how Pakistan’s travel and tourism industry improved as terror concerns have steadily subsided since 2019.
During my time in the newsroom, there were periods in which not much relevant news was coming through. However, whenever a breaking news headline came through to the digital group, especially when the State Bank of Pakistan was about to announce the new monetary policy, the entire room came together and focused all their attention on making sure they could quickly publish an article about the news in good time.
I found it fascinating to see how quickly the atmosphere kept changing in the room; this mutable atmosphere meant that it was never boring as something was always happening.
Overall, my experiencing interning at Business Recorder was overwhelmingly positive, largely due to my profound interest in economics and finance. Having spent four productive weeks at the company, I strongly feel that my analytical and communication skills have improved and I have started to enjoy writing more as well.
The article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Business Recorder or its owners