A story from newsroom of Astro AWANI

By Wafa Awla

Paving the way towards the 14th General Election, I could feel the most intense stress ever since gathering embargo data on redelineation of boundaries, which means creation of the new voting districts. I sacrificed my weekend and turned up at the newsroom just to understand the latest area that will be affected after the implementation.

All the data has been gathered and presented in the excel sheets. That ‘masterpiece’ later would be an important document for journalists as a reference. Lucky enough we have the best team to go through the data and we managed to get it done within two days.

Here in AWANI, it is not just about how fast you need to adapt with the pace but how willing you are to sacrifice yourself to help the society. That is what I have learned throughout the journey as an intern.

“We need to think about how this information will reach the public so that they will know where to go during the election day.” 

As expected, the redelineation report became controversial but parliament passes it anyway. But at that moment, I felt so lucky being among the earliest person to read the data and contribute in delivering the story on one of the biggest changes to our nation election system.

A few days later, I still remember when everybody in the newsroom gathered in front of the television at the centre of the room just to watch the announcement of the date of parliament dissolution by the Prime Minister.

After parliament dissolution, everything in the newsroom becomes more energetic. They rarely assigned me to write a story that will necessitate me to go out for coverage but asked me to write a story based on telephone interview. That is because they want me to concentrate more on managing the data regarding General Election including the incumbents and the candidates of each states.

After political parties published their manifestos, I was assigned to summarise the content and send it to the graphic team so that we can publish it in a form of infographic in our digital platform to increase the awareness of the public about the manifesto of the different parties, in a way help them to make a well-thought decision.

AWANI has sent their journalists to go to every state to do coverage and ask people from the grassroots. That was the moment I understand the concept ‘Mojo’ (mobile journalist) which I have heard in the class, and only now I have been able to put to practice. They will record their report and interview through the phone and send it to the newsroom.

I have seen everybody in the newsroom working so hard to make sure the information will be delivered to the public on time. They have created the game to educate the public about our nation and discussed the sentiments and problems raised by the public with academicians and the experts.

Frankly, politics used to be a field that is very far from me, which explained why I have not been interested to explore. But being a journalist now makes me realise how important our politics could affect our life, that is why the public should be made to occupy themselves with the information.

Media practitioners have the ability to make the voices of the public heard. Realising this duty has humbled me. At this point, I pondered that maybe this is what God wants me to do.

Being an intern during the General Election is tiring, but that is fine as long as I know I am helping more people. Slowly I began to enjoy myself doing every task given and avoid being tied down with the cliche routine everyday.

Maybe that’s what life is all about, as long as we are walking a journey that makes us grow and feel alive. There’s nothing to be afraid of and nothing to be blamed. ***


Wafa Awla

Head of features news, IIUM Today. And I love rainy days.

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