This interview I took when I was working in Geo TV in 2012. This interview was posted on Geovision website. I am sharing some chunks of the interview over here for my readers.
“It’s easier to judge us (media people) from the surface but the real picture is quite different,” says the pretty and resilient Maria Memon.
She is strong-minded and her confidence reflects through her personality. It is not an easy job and people do not have any clue what one go through. Every day we come to the news studio, and go through all over again, adds Maria. Moreover, the sight of dead bodies is not a pleasant one, as we are also affected with the awful video footages but keeping aside all the emotions, we do our job.
However, entering the profession of journalism was never her goal; she wanted to be a doctor but her destiny chose a different plan for her. She started out as a Software engineer, later opted as HR consultant and eventually her fate landed her into Journalism. Her career graph shows a gradual transition that ultimately leads her to the place where she is now a ‘Newscaster’.
So, how determined and passionate is Maria Memon? Geo vision brings you a light chit-chat with high-spirited Maria who believes to make a difference in the lives of millions through her effort.
Madiha Akhtar: Why you choose to be a News anchor?
Maria Memon: It chooses me! I had worked as a field reporter for four years in Geo News. In the meantime, Geo management asked me to host Mere Mutabiq. Gradually, it trained my skills for news anchoring and now here I am!
MA: How did you enter the field of News anchoring?
MM: I graduated as a Software Engineer and it was during that period, I got inspired from my ‘communication skills professor’, who encouraged me to polish my public speaking skills. After graduation, I worked as an HR consultant and later joined Geo TV, in 2008 as a program coordinator for Geo English but the project I was assigned got cancelled. Later my bureau chief at that time shifted me to the news room and thus began my journey as a news anchor/reporter and as they say, the rest is history.
MA: According to you, three qualities that are needed to become a successful news anchor?
MM: For me, one need to always have a hunger to learn new things; keeping aside the glamour part our work entirely depends on lots of words so one should have a vast knowledge in order to have a command over language. Secondly, inquisitiveness that keeps one going. Lastly, Persistence and never ever quit! There might be low times in your career but it’s all about never giving up your goal.
MA: Who is your inspiration in anchoring?
MM: Christiane Amanpour (CNN anchorperson)—she is someone to whom I look up to. I do follow her work and someday I wish to do glorious job like her.
MA: Give one positive and negative point of being a news anchor?
MM: The thought of not just standing as a bystander rather playing a small yet an integral part keeps me upbeat. Whereas the downside of the job is to disconnect ourselves from emotions and torment one is going through internally.
MA: While doing live bulletins, did you face any mishap?
MM: Every day you cannot be a winner! Live TV is just like a test match where one day you outshine and other day you are out on a duck. I remembered one of my callers called me on one of my shows and I could not stop laughing. It was rude nevertheless but moments like these happen and right thing to do is to learn and move on…
MA: Your most memorable moment while doing news bulletin?
MM: There has been few like coverage of fire incident in Lahore or visiting Dada Darbar, even though I did not give the finest performance but it is memorable for me.
MA: Any news that made you speechless or gave goose bumps? How did you recover yourself?
MM: I belong to Air-force background so definitely any news related to Military accidents saddens me. When Malala was shot and she was in bad condition, every day a fear loomed that what if she could not survive the wound! However, in case of an emergent situation, the notes were prepared beforehand. Because as cliché as it sounds, this is the part of our job… when you are in front of camera, you have to conceal your emotions and professionalism takes over.
MA: What has been your favorite news that made your day?
MM: I was glad to break the news of the conniver Maulvi in Rimsha’s case. It was the moment of elation and once again my faith restores on humanity. Furthermore any news that gives you feeling-good-factor makes my day for instance fortunately when Malala Yosufzai survived from the gunshot or at times when Pakistan team wins any cricket match.
MA: Among noted personalities at Geo News, who is your favorite one?
MM: Najam Sethi, he smoothly eases the complexity of the story with his jovial discussion and chilled-out attitude. The way he adds Punjabi touch in his discussion adds more flavor to his program. I reckon him as the perfect TV man.
MA: Other than you, who is your favorite anchor in Geo TV?
MM: Danish Anis Shaikh; his energy and passion are his forte and he can host any format easily.
MA: Are you a planner? Do you have any goals?
MM: I am not a planner! I take every day as it comes. Nonetheless, in the long run my aim is to establish myself as a credible journalist.
MA: How is your experience working with Geo?
MM: A great experience indeed! As a woman, the organisation provides you a secure working environment where one feels comfortable to perform their job. Geo gives you an opportunity to opine your voice. In the span of four years, Geo gives me full leverage to explore my potentials and try every other role and for that I am also grateful to my mentors.
MA: To your fans, what you want to say?
MM: There are many people who want to become anchors but for wrong reasons. So to all those who prefer short-cuts, it’s not worth it. Only hard work and patience pays off at the end.