Future journalists speak their mind

DUBAI — Twelve-year-old Naima was nervous and could barely sit straight. She was trying hard to appear calm and unaffected by the furious muttering of memorised speeches. But her sheer enthusiasm to be a journalist in the future was evident in her actions.

By Aakanksha Singh (Our staff reporter)

Published: Sat 19 Jul 2008, 1:23 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 6:13 PM

Dubai Kids Press Club's final Press conference yesterday brought out the temperament and enthusiasm of future journalists. The conference was the culmination of the three weeks of training.

The brigade of young and aspiring journalists, aged between 10 and 15, shuffled into their seats, passing remarks and giving assurances to each other across the Press conference room.

The opening speaker for the day was 14-year-old Haroon Saleem, who appeared enthusiastic about his future journalistic career, said, "Before I joined, I expected to be able to broaden my mind and knowledge through this course and I got just that."

Haroon seemed to be a born journalist. In an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times, his elder sister, Sana Saleem, recalled Haroon's keen interest in the media from a young age. He has been writing letters to magazines and newspapers for the past three years.

Natural flair

His natural flair was quite evident during the open forum, where he tackled the questions from the Press people with ease and spread giggles with his witty replies. "I want to become a motor journalist," he told Khaleej Times. Top Gear, better watch out for this one!

Equally enthusiastic was Shivani Jawa, 14. She daringly stated that the dangers involved in the field of journalism do not daunt her. She claimed she was prepared to face any challenge, which was the very essence of one's conviction.

Shivani's words touched upon one of the most important lessons that these kids were taking home with them.

As second-year club member, Yuji R. S. Los Banos, aptly put it, "Media is not only about glamour. It's hard work."

Rehearsed speeches

The unnatural formal air of the conference was clearly making the young speakers uncomfortable as they struggled not to mess up their rehearsed speeches. But towards the end, as the speech papers were tossed aside, their true talent shone through.

With surprising straight-forwardness, they spoke about and debated with each other topics that would intimidate people more than twice their age. Danger, war reporting, and duty over death were only a few of them.

"I want people to stop fighting over oil and land," declared 12-year-old Baraa Saad, adding that he was going to work for world peace.

Before the conference, the children chatted casually, raving about their training. Most considered their field trip to the SAE campus in Knowledge Village the best part of the whole training.

Aarohi Rajguru and Anvita Shetty gave an account of all the fun assignments they had done.

The two photography workshops organised in collaboration with Unicef were also highly appreciated. The kids were not the only ones who were delighted with the experience.

Neeti Rajguru, Aarohi's mother, was extremely satisfied with what her daughter had learnt, believing that it would give her that much-desired edge over the other children when Aarohi returned to school after the summer.

"She likes it very much, she doesn't even mind getting up early for it even though it is vacation time," said Neeti with a smile. How could kids so young be trained as journalists? It was a question on most of the reporters' minds. Events Management Executive for the Dubai Press Club Abdulaziz A. Sadeq had the answer, "Today, the kids are not like they used to be some years back. They handle computers all the time, sometimes even better than adults. They are aware of the media and most importantly, they come here willing to learn. They are very interested."

Exciting experience

The kids declared that they would like to return to the club next year. Surely all work and no play could not have made the experience this exciting? A casual chat soon revealed the secret. Between workshops, relaxation time like pizza treats and a trip to Modhesh Fun City had been just the magic perks to help them form strong bonds of friendship among them.

As jittery and nervous as the kids had seemed before the Press conference, they seemed equally relaxed and proud of themselves as they received individual certificates of participation at the end of the whole ceremony. "Our instructor told us to have confidence in ourselves. Then we can become whatever we want," young Mahreen said stated during the conference. Well, these young ones certainly can.

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