Mahvish Tabassum is one of the most promising name and face of our broadcasting journalism industry. She is one of those anchors who always had a passion for the filed and never fell short of making an effort in doing better and better.
Mahvish started her career as an RJ at Samaa FM, and her news casting career started when she joined City 42. After completing her degree in Mass Communications she got an offer from Sach TV in Islamabad. in 2015 she joined Capital TV as news caster but now she hosts one of the flagship shows of the channel – Baybaak.
Mahvish was in Lahore last month when team of MediaSpring got chance to meet this very talented news anchor. We asked her some questions here is what she had to say.
- Were you always attracted to journalism and media and when did you realize that a career as a media person was for you?
Mahvish: I was in FSC when I decided that I want to become a news anchor I was into debates and I felt I have the interest for broadcasting journalism. Perhaps it is because I once heard my mother saying that she wanted to become a news anchor, she also had an aspiration to be an RJ. She did not succeed in achieving either, however, I have fulfilled her dreams as I did both radio and news media. I started doing radio back in university when I became an RJ at FM 107.4, while I was in my final year of my university I started my News channel career with City 42 and that was without any salary or benefits all I wanted at that time was practical experience that can help me.
- Tell us something your educational back ground, and to what extent do you think your education and your academic degree has helped you in your career?
Mahvish: I did BS Honors in Mass Communications from Punjab University. I feel that my education helped me a lot because when I joined practical field I had a good knowledge about the basics and that was the most helpful factor. I personally feel that those anchors who do not have the basic knowledge struggle a lot in the beginning of their career. Later on everyone gets the expertise with experience but for a better start, basics are very important. I am quite fortunate that in Punjab University we got a very good academic and practical training we were taught radio, report writing, news editing, in fact we were trained holistically.
- Tell us something about your family, which city are you from, how many members are there in your family, how supportive your family is about your career and work. And how much do you think family support is important?
Mahvish: I am from Lahore, lived almost whole of my life here, my education brought up all happened here in this very city. We are five sisters and one brother who is youngest among all siblings. My family was very supportive as I said my mother wanted to be an anchor but she lived that dream of hers through me she was very supportive but I have to say the biggest support came from my father. In fact my father stood by me all the time and he feels so proud of me.
- What part of your work you find the most challenging and which one you enjoyed the most?
Mahvish: my current assigning me is the most challenging so far, which is a show on current affairs that I co-host with veteran himself Khushnood Ali Khan. As he is such a senior person in this field and he is very particular about his work that is why it is quite challenging to work with him. It is like a new challenge every day and eventually I end up learning a lot from him and from this experience. Khushnood Ali Khan is very nice and very kind to me.
As far as the enjoyable part is concerned, I enjoy news bulletins a lot. I have a craze of reading news and I now find it easy too that is why I enjoy it.
- In Pakistan mostly there is an issue of not treating male professionals and female professionals equally. i.e. in past a PTV news caster was not allowed to read a sad news since being a woman she would be unable to hold emotions, does that mind set of 1970s and 1980s still exist in our media? (Sorry about the long question)
Mahvish: NO, it does not exist at all. I personally sometimes feel that women are preferred tough channels give try to give equal space, therefore, there is no such atmosphere anymore as it was back in 1970s or 1980s. For instance if I am on duty and there is something sad or terrible happened I will be doing that news bulletin because it’s my duty I will not be replace. Yes if there is an anchor who is new and does not have much experience then for difficult assignments a senior one is preferred. You can say there is gender equality but there can be a debate over experience equality.
- Who is your source of inspiration?
Mahvish: My ultimate source of inspiration is Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), then Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal. If you are looking for a non-textbook answer then recently Muniba Mazari has been my source of inspiration lately.
- Sometimes listening to a bad news devastates our day, I am sure reading a bad news must have an effect on a news anchor too how do you coup up with that?
Mahvish: When we are on air we certainly feel bad and there being a human emotions do take over but being a professional it is part of our job to deal with it. I give you an example when there was an earthquake in October last year I was reading news at that time I live away from family as I work in Islamabad, since I was in the middle of a news bulletin I could not contact any one in my family that was one time when I felt like crying on air because jolts were horrific. Generally news stay in news room when I complete my duty and step out of work I do not carry all that burden with me and try to enjoy rest of the day like regular people.
- How important do you think a healthy rivalry is among the fellow news anchors, do you think anyone as your rival (healthy/professional rival of course)?
Mahvish: This field is full of competition, very tough competition. We not only compete with our fellow female news anchors but also compete with male news anchors too. I believe if we take it positively it is a good thing because it helps in enriching one’s content learning new things and gaining more experience but that does not mean one should not respect one’s senior. I have great respect and admiration for my seniors.
I have so many friends in my field too. I really enjoy in news studios, as we are normally paired as a team of one male and one female news anchors so my favourite co-news anchors happen to be male ones. I feel comfortable teaming up with Ali Jannat and Waqas Rafique.
What @mahvishtabassum says about importance of personal knowledge and research of a news anchor. Read full interview on www.springmediabubble.com #mahvishtabassum #pakistani #newscaster #anchor #CapitalTv #interview
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- Keeping other update about what is going on around the world is a hectic job, what is your favourite off time activity?
Mahvish: That would be hang out with friends. It is quite a hectic job and mostly I feel like going back to my room after work and enjoy my off time alone.
- Do you like reading books, if yes then what type of books?
Mahvish: I like reading columns in newspapers, I read almost everyone but I like the style of Javed Chaudhry and Hassan Nisar. I do read books off and on as these days I am reading “Udaas Naslain”. I used to read novels a lot when I was a student I have read Umera Ahmed a lot.
- How much do you think study and personal research is important for a news anchor?
Mahvish: Very important! If you have knowledge and you have done your research then your confidence level is sky high and that can be seen on the screen too. Even if you have to ask a simple question and you have knowledge about it the whole impact of the question and debate changes downright.
- We have seen couple of examples from Pakistani news media that some news anchors shifted to modeling and acting do you have any such plans or have you ever got any acting or modeling offer?
Mahvish: Well yes I did get offers for modeling in fact when I was in Karachi last year I was offered an acting assignment too, but I refused it like i do all the times. That is simply because I have no plan of joining entertainment industry my aspiration is to become strictly news or current affairs anchor not an entertainment show anchor.
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- Tell us something about yourself that no one probably knows.
Mahvish: If nobody knows it why would I tell you ;)?
- Define your personal style in three words
Mahvish: Confident, moody, and garrulous
- Your favourite film? Favourite song (if any)
Mahvish: I rarely watch a film and if I do I watch it after great deal of recommendation and that too in cinema. My favourite movies list is quite long but to name one I really liked Waar.
Music I listen a lot, especially on my way to work or while coming back to home. My all-time favourite song is “Afreen” by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Generally I like sad songs – some people are ultimate sad ones I am one of those, I believe.
- With the arrival and rise of social media among the Pakistani internet users how much do you think it has changed us in terms of being aware and is social media helping you in your profession if yes then in what way ?
Mahvish: Social media has indeed transformed the way we take up news and react to them. We are up to date via social media we are able to contact almost everyone which is a great thing this meeting is one such example your team contacted me via twitter for this interview. I do not think myself as a very famous news anchor at the moment but there is a segment of audience that knows me through social media.
We cannot say that now people do not watch news any more, it is like twitter and news on TV go hand in hand. We share news on social media that help us picking up news that might have gone totally ignored. Younger members of news media are quite well aware of social media and now interesting the senior members of news media are joining social media too. That indicates how important this medium has become now.
- Any tip of message you would like to give to the people who want to join news media as journalist or news anchor?
Mahvish: if you have a lot of passion and you are crazy enough to take completion head on then join the media. It is a tough field the earning stage also starts later on. So the survival is in having great deal of passion.
To become an anchor after passion confidence matters a lot, rest comes latter with the experience.
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- Most memorable news that you ever read as news anchor, and any news that you regretted to read on a news bulletin?
Mahvish: Memorable ones I would say is that every news I have read about Pakistan winning a match. Reading news about APS was a trauma for me too, I actually broke into tears while reading it.
- What are future plans of ‘Mahvish Tabassum’?
Mahvish: To learn more, to get more experience, and when I eventually start looking mature I would like to host a current affairs program like Mahrukh Qureshi does for Capital TV.
- Any message for your fans?
Mahvish: hmmm… do I really have fans??? Well I can say keep watching, keep listening and keep giving your feedback.