Asmaa Al Hameli | February 10, 2013
At the beginning of every month, my editor asks me to pitch 10 story ideas.
Most of my ideas are Emirati-oriented because I wish to address my societal issues and deliver solutions, if possible.
I noticed that The National’s reporting on Emirati Issues is harmed due to language and cultural barriers. Also, some Emiratis do not like revealing their concerns to Western reporters because they fear they might “exploit” their image, as some put it. I have decided to specialise in this field because I received positive responses from my previous interviews with Emiratis.
Most recently, I pitched a story about “Random Acts of Kindness”. I am glad my editor supported this idea, because I dd not think the paper would run such story. Again, I was wrong!
I was excited to work on this idea because I was intrigued to know what kind of regular acts of kindness Emiratis practice.
I got this idea from Twitter. A tweep posted a photo of a Good Samaritan who put coins inside an envelope and stuck it on a vending machine with the message: “Enjoy the drink and treat on me”. I was planning to do the same thing, but sadly the vending machine inside the newsroom works depending on its mood. Last time I put coins in, they came right back out.
I proceeded with this idea and tried to find sources. To be honest, pitching stories is fun, but I always struggle to find suitable sources. I started looking for people on Twitter, but it was a failed attempt. Usually my followers respond to my tweets, but when I tweeted a serious topic, I got no response.
So I turned to my colleagues: the two Ayeshas and Maryam, from the multimedia department.. These three women always have people in stock. I told them about my idea, and within a second they bombarded me with contacts. I was amazed by their quick reactions.
At the end of the day, I managed to find four people who agreed to be interviewed. So far, only one has responded. Do you have a story to share?