Dilip A. wins the third place for his report “Parking spaces being misused”. Image Credit: Supplied

A need for more care and consideration towards the community and its people was the central theme of the community reports received in November.

Every month, readers send reports about issues that largely affect their community. These reports, be they positive or negative, give readers a prospect to address their concerns. In this way, Gulf News believes its readers to be heard and get answers to issues that concern them and, which they think, require immediate attention.

Some of the significant issues that readers were concerned for in this month’s community reports were road and vehicle safety, dumping garbage carelessly, teenagers painting graffiti on walls and animal care.

Readers have found community reports to be the right platform to create awareness and find solutions to social issues that would help bring a positive change within the community. Today, we acknowledge those citizen reporters who shared their experiences and whose messages stood out among the others. The reports that were published in November were judged by Senior Hub Editor Meher Murshed. The criteria for selection included content, issue, impact on community, responsibility and the quality of contribution.

The winning reporters highlighted key problem areas and looked for solutions. Their reports asked for more attention and responsibility towards the community and the environment.

First place winner Afra Ashique said: “Community report is a great platform to express one’s views about what is happening in the community. As citizens, it is our responsibility to take a step forward in creating awareness among people and work towards improving our environment.”

Second place winner Michael Leo said: “I believe community reports are a great way for the community to be heard. I have read a number of reports, which have been a concern to many, but were addressed for the first time through this medium.”

Third place winner Dilip A said: “Community reports allow residents to put forth their views and permit them to act as ‘citizen journalists’.”

Murshed commended the messages raised by the reader reporters. He said: “The three reports highlight negligence and a lack of consideration for others. They put others at risk without a care and demonstrate a lack of civic sense.”

Winner Profiles:

First place winner

Afra Ashique

Plastic debris a hindrance to crocodile pond

November 7, 2013

Profile:

Sharjah-based, Afra Ashique was shocked to see plastic debris floating in a crocodile pond when she visited the Emirates Park Zoo. Through her report, she requested the zoo visitors to refrain from littering and take extra care of animals. She said: “I am happy with the response of Dr Mohammad Saad, manager of Emirates Park Zoo, that the zoo authorities are now making a new enclosure for crocodiles.”

Second place winner

Michael Leo

Stop using mobile phones while driving

November 6, 2013

Profile:

Michael Leo, a Dubai-based student, witnessed a public transport bus driver talking on the phone while driving during a bus ride from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. He reported about the dangers of this act and the consequences that may follow. Through the report, Leo urged people to stop compromising their own safety. He said: “I received a few comments on how a driver using mobile phone is a common nuisance. There have been too many accidents due to this careless habit. The solutions I received varied from keeping the phone on silent or parking the car somewhere safe before attending calls.”

Third place winner

Dilip A

Parking spaces being misused

November 30, 2013

Profile:

Dubai-based, Dilip A, reported about misused car spaces as car owners do not follow community rules and deliberately take up two parking spaces. Through his report, he suggested that if residents are known about a forum where they can report such incidents, this issue can be controlled. He said: “My feedback has not received the expected response apart from getting published in the newspaper. What I would have ideally preferred is a more transparent means that empowers residents to expose the wrong doings to authorities and the errant members responsible, get due notice of the violations.”

Writing tips

Give key words their space.

Do not repeat a distinctive word unless you intend a specific effect.

Seek original images.

Reject clichés and first-level creativity.

Vary the lengths of paragraphs.

Go short or long -- or make a “turn”-- to match your intent.

Set the pace with sentence length.

Vary sentences to influence the reader’s speed.

To generate suspense, use internal cliffhangers.

To propel readers, make them wait.

- Source: www.poynter.org

-The writer is a trainee with Gulf News