RDS_131008 community winners / 08 October 2013 / Rajeev Jose in the Gulf News Head Quarter in Dubai. PHOTO by Abdel-Krim Kallouche

The key to writing is awareness and Gulf News’ community reporters know this well. They are the ones who strive to emphasise an immediate change they wish to see in the world.

Every month, readers send reports about issues that affect their community. These reports, be they positive or negative, give readers an opportunity 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.

Topics of concern that readers highlighted in this month’s Community Reports were lack of road safety, animal care, taking measures to secure public places, such as parks, from danger and the urge to keep the city clean.

Readers have found Community Reports to be the right platform to create awareness and shed light on issues that interests the common people, which would help them in becoming responsible towards the community and the environment. Today, we honour those reporters who shared their experiences and whose messages stood out among the others. The reports that were published in September 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 winning

The winning community reporters highlighted key problem areas and looked for solutions.

First place winner Tuhina Bhattacharya was troubled by the traffic condition in Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) area. She said: “Many people talk about the problem but there are few who seek a solution to it. I certainly feel that community reports are a good platform to get our messages across to other people and the concerned authorities and I believe that community reporters are just doing the same.”

Second place winner Rajeev Jose stated lack of awareness about the water bottles exposed to sunlight for long hours. He said: “I strongly believe that community reports helps in bringing out the missed news.”

Third place winner Manoj Gurnani was concerned for the safety of construction workers. He said: “Gulf News, with its Community Reports section that gets such a prominent place in the newspaper, is doing a wonderful job as a strong and conscientious voice for the community and I wish it goes from strength to strength in trying to improve peoples’ lives.”

Murshed commended the messages raised by the reader reporters. He said: “The three reports highlight social and civic issues. They must be investigated and action taken. Traffic has been a problem in JLT for sometime now and the issue must be addressed. Keeping plastic water bottles out in the heat or working without basic safety gear is a matter of awareness. This, too, needs to be enforced.”

Winner Profiles:

First place winner

Tuhina Bhattacharya

Worst traffic nightmare at JLT

September 16, 2013


Dubai-based Tuhina Bhattacharya expressed her concern about the terrible traffic nightmare faced by JLT residents. Through the report, Bhattacharya requested the concerned authorities to complete the road projects in the area soon. She said: “I got a good response to my report. A news report was published by Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) in Gulf News on September 23, 2013, ‘Some traffic relief for JLT end of September’. This stated what the concerned authorities were doing to ease the traffic and how soon the road project would be completed.”

Second place winner

Rajeev Jose

Health hazard of heated plastic

September 1, 2013


Rajeev Jose, who is based in Sharjah, was surprised to see bottled water kept under sunlight. He recommended foregoing bottled water and instead, using a bisphenol (BPA) free container. He said: “I have heard experts say that drinking water in plastic bottles should not be left inside the car, especially during day time. Exposing water containers to sunlight is a common sight throughout the UAE. Though the delivery vehicle is covered securely, they carelessly unload the containers, which are kept in the sun for long hours before being distributed. It is still a regular sight.”

Third place winner

Manoj Gurnani

Working without safety gear can be perilous

September 19, 2013


Manoj Gurnani felt helpless observing a construction worker working inside the metal framework of a billboard, without any safety gear. Gurnani, who is a Dubai-based sales manager, urged the companies to take care of worker safety and provide them with the required equipment. He said: “With regard to the company whose worker I had photographed, he belongs from an outdoor advertising company. I have a good mind to call one of their managers very soon to discuss this issue and hopefully make them see daylight.”

Writing tips

Watch those adverbs.

Use them to change the meaning of the verb.

Order words for emphasis.

Place strong words at the beginning and at the end.

Establish a pattern, then give it a twist.

Build parallel constructions, but cut across the grain.

Learn the difference between reports and stories.

Use one to render information, the other to render experience.

Information courtesy: Poynter.org

-The writer is a trainee with Gulf News.