Introduction Every month Gulf News receives dozens of reports about a multitude of issues affecting our readers - from the lack of proper roads and bus shelter, to the need for education and awareness on issues like cancer and the environment. However, while they call on the authorities to step in and make change, our community reporters highlight how people need to first change their mind-set before implemented changes and campaigns can ever be truly effective. Through community reports highlighting dirty beaches, litter-filled parks and graffiti covered walls, they show society how little respect many have for their surroundings. Through reports on child safety in cars and shopping centres they highlight how irresponsible behaviour puts children at risk.
Today we acknowledge and award the community reporters whose message stood out among the others. The community reports published in December were judged by Senior Hub Editor Meher Murshed. The criteria for selection included content, issue, impact on community, responsibility and the quality of contribution.
Reason for selection:
As our community reporters know, creating change takes more than new regulations and enforcement. Each of the December winners held up a mirror to society and demanded people take their share of the responsibility for the issues facing their communities.
Senior Hub Editor Meher Murshed commended the messages raised by these readers. He said: “The three reports and pictures highlight neglect on our part. The strictest of laws will not teach us to stop risking lives or damaging property and the environment unless change comes from within. It is time to act before it’s too late.”
First place winner
Don’t be careless with children’s lives
December 30, 2012
Dubai-based Radha Hari was shocked at the lack of responsibility some parents show with regard to their children. She felt it was her duty to highlight the danger that lurks behind every bend when children aren’t safely buckled in the back of a car. Through her report she hoped parents would realise the risks they take by allowing their children to hang out of windows and sunroofs and learn to be more vigilant when it comes to keeping them safe.
Second place winner
Tossing garbage indiscriminately a nuisance
Appalled by the sight of a dirty diaper being tossed from an apartment window onto a car below, Mohammad Zeeshan called on people to take the time to think about the consequences of their actions. The Dubai resident stressed the need for a return to civilised behaviour and for society to be more environmentally conscious.
Third place winner
Andrew Boby Jacob
Respect the environment
While out for an afternoon of kite flying with his family, Sharjah-based Andrew Boby Jacob was saddened by the state of the beach they went to was in. He cautioned that the amount of litter left behind by people would have serious affects on all living creatures and called on beachgoers to have respect for the environment and the living organisms that call UAE beaches home.
Are your lips moving?
Read your story out loud. You will hear awkward phrases and know if a sentence is too long or difficult to read.
Finding the focus
Every story is about something. The best stories have a focus and a point. Try asking these questions:
What’s the news? What’s the story? What information surprised me the most? What will surprise my reader or viewer? What one thing does my reader need to know?
Let punctuation control pace and space.
Learn the rules, but realise you have more options than you think.