Annam Lodhi is an Islamabad-based journalist with half a decade worth of experience in Pakistan. She received the prestigious AGAHI Award ‘Journalist of the Year 2020 Reporting on Data Journalism 2020.”

1. Tell us about yourself?
I was born and raised in the UAE and moved to Lahore, Pakistan in 2011, to pursue my undergraduate degree in Mass Communication. I have been living and working in Pakistan, with frequent trips here and there ever since.

2. What inspired you to become a journalist?
To be honest, I was interested in the glamorous world of journalism in the beginning. I wanted to be on TV. But soon realized that I had a knack for writing and it was a stronger medium.

3. Share with us about the moment when you were awarded the Agahi Award 2020 in the Data Journalism category?
It was an exhilarating moment. I was excited because this is my first professional award. I wasn’t expecting it.

4. Tell us more about the award-winning story?
The story was a report on research published by the EU DisinfoLab where they unearthed over 265 fake local news sites in more than 65 countries are managed by an Indian network, designed to influence the European Union and the United Nations by criticizing Pakistan. The story discussed how the internet can be used to spread propaganda and manipulate organizations and had infographics that made it easier for readers to understand the extent of the propaganda.

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5. You have been serving as a writer, columnist, reporter, feature writer among other roles in the media. What key insights on effective writing would you share with aspiring writers of Pakistan?
Research and choose your niche. Over the years I have done it all, but I think I only found my calling when I narrowed down my interests and worked towards them. One should have an immense grasp on their topic of choosing and also understand all points of view that persist in the beat. As a journalist, having opinions is not our job, but to know and represent all opinions is.

6. What shortcomings do you think the media outlets of Pakistan need to address to disseminate credible, correct, clear news among the masses?
The media needs to hire professionals and pay them well. Currently, the pays are meager and the workload is immense. This results in under-researched stories and mediocre work. Half the truth is being told and we do not have time/money/resources to investigate the other half. We need to invest in human labor, money, and time into our news telling.

7. Your message for the youth of Pakistan?
Keep working towards your goals. I know it seems impossible at times, especially when the country’s economy is going downhill, and also there are so many privileged people around you who seem to have it all. But keep at it. Remember there is no timeline for success. You cannot compare your milestones with others. There will be a time when you will look back and wonder how you got where you are. It will only happen when you continue to strive for your goals.

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