Faizan Lakhani is young Journalist based in Karachi, presently he is working for a television channel GEO News as Correspondent on Sports.
1) Assalam-O-Alaikum! Faizan, you are already a renowned journalist but still can you tell us a little about yourself for those who don’t know you much?
Well, I don’t consider myself as a “renowned journalist”, I am just a small member of the media fraternity and still struggling to achieve my goals. Currently, I am working with Geo News as Sports Correspondent, I’ve previously worked with Aaj News and Express, have also freelanced for foreign news agencies/papers.
2) What sparked your initial interest in journalism?
My dad, dad was also a journalist, so I think journalism was in my blood, I started writing for kids’ magazine “Nau-Nehal”, it was late 90s – probably 98 – when I got internship in Urdu Newspaper named “Public”, since then I’ve never looked back.
3) What was most challenging about the transition from print to television? Did your print reporting experience help you in television?
I didn’t find it difficult, the only difference I experienced initially was that in print I had to keep “words limit” in my mind while writing news and in TV, I was told to keep “time restriction” in my mind. I personally believe that print was and is still easier than TV reporting, and sometimes I really miss my days in print media.
4) Looking back on your teen years, can you see how your personal characteristics would lead you to become a journalist?
As I said earlier, journalism is in my blood, and I started writing when I was in school, won tons of competition (and every time I presented some creative excuses after skipping classes), so yeah! I think I was meant to be a journalist.
5) What are your favorite sports events to cover? Did you play sports as a child?
I love to cover Cricket, Squash and Snooker… many journalists find Snooker boring, but I love the sport, I’ve played Snooker and I know every little thing about the game, so it is one of my favorite sports.
Cricket because everyone is so emotionally involved with this game, you can’t stop yourself from following Cricket.
Squash because I am a big fan of Jahangir Khan. I believe that Jahangir Khan should be the role model for all the sportsmen in country, if I ever get an opportunity of film making, I’ll make it on Jahangir Khan. It is a shame that most of the countrymen aren’t even aware of his record of winning 555 matches without losing a game.
6) How did participating in sports as a child help you as a professional?
It is very helpful, participating in sports make you understand the atmosphere, makes you realize that what it takes to be there, also tells you basic requirements of the game.
7) Do you feel that there is too much sensationalism in the media?
Yes, only in electronic media, or limited to Urdu journalism, English Press is still sensible. I won’t defend this unnecessary sensationalism, but this is part of business, you’re watching it, you love “dhoom-dhaarraka and maar dhaar.” A crime show gets more rating and advertisement than a show on arts and literature, it is up to viewer what they’ve to watch, you stop watching sensationalized stuff, and media will stop showing it.
8) Politics is turning into a nastier and dirtier game every other day. In fact, it has also seeped into religion, sports, communities and every other thing now. What’s your take on this?
Unfortunately, it has now become a part of our society. Sports should be kept away from politics, in fact this should be used as a tool to develop harmony between nations. We’ve successfully experienced how Cricket helped in breaking the ice between Pakistan and India. I still remember Indian politicians and bollywood stars visiting Pakistan in 2004 to support the team, so I think nothing can help in developing harmony than sports.
9) What was your most challenging interview and how did you turn it around?
Most challenging… I think it was with former Indian captain Rahul Dravid, mainly because it happened when India toured Pakistan after gap of 14 years. So, I had to stop myself from asking anything controversial, I tried my best not to offend Indian skipper with my questions, and Allhamodlillah, it ended well.
Another funny incident when I was touring India in 2005, I was with Aaj Tv that time and was performing dual role of reporter and cameraman during the trip, I got the opportunity to interview Sania Mirza and I forgot to press the record button on camera, realized it in middle of interview. Sania was kind enough to entertain my request for re-recording three/four questions that I missed.
10) What are the most important characteristics a successful television personality (especially a journalist) must possess?
Punctual, grip on subject you are covering and an avid reader. Reading improves your vocabulary and selection of words is very important in TV journalism.
11) Why should teenagers watch and, more importantly, care about the news?
Not only teenagers but people from all age group should keep themselves up-to-date with developments around the world, and in this era of social media, I think an eye on developments around the world will always give you an edge.
12) What do you find most satisfying about your time at Geo Network (Jang Group)?
What can be more satisfactory that I am working for the largest newsgroup of Pakistan, what satisfies me more is the company’s investment on sports, no other TV channel sends reporters on tour with team, in Geo – you get the opportunity to travel with the team, and travelling always enhance one’s professional skills.
13) What are your career highlights?
World T20 – South Africa – 2007, touring India with Cricket team in 2005 and 2012/13 and for commonwealth games in 2010. World Open squash… and yeah, the most memorable opportunity to 5 minutes one-to-one chat with Brian Lara.
14) Beside work, what kind of music do you listen to in your spare time? Any favorite artists?
I love Pakistani music/songs from Ahmed Rushdie to Sajjad Ali and from Robin Ghosh to Amjad Bobby…. They’re legends…. I usually listen to light and romantic music.
15) What events are you looking forward to in 2014?
World T20 in Bangladesh.
16) Any message to the world?
Only thing I would want to tell the world that Pakistanis are peace loving people, and the sports lovers in Pakistan are desperately waiting for international sports to return to Pakistan.
17) On a scale from one to 10, rate me as an interviewer.
18) Views about GaibianPost?
Thank you ‘Faizan’ for this interview.
Interviewed by: Abdul Rehman Mian