Published on 10:08 AM, January 13, 2024

The art of news reading, with Farabi Hafiz

An insight into the evolving landscape of TV News presentation in Bangladesh

Farabi Hafiz, a Mass Communication and Journalism student from Dhaka University, embarked on his television career with DeshTV in 2009.

Television news, often criticised for its relentless focus on crime, corruption, and calamity, has seen a transformative approach in its presentation. One name synonymous with this shift is Farabi Hafiz, a renowned news anchor and programme host in Bangladesh's private TV sector. Today, we delve into his unique approach to news broadcasting.

Over 400 news presenters grace the television screens in Bangladesh, yet Farabi Hafiz has carved a niche for himself. Eschewing the traditional, somewhat mechanical style of news delivery, Hafiz has pioneered a more narrative-driven approach.

In the late '90s, a shift began with figures like Shamsuddin Haider Dalim and Samia Zaman introducing variety to the newsroom. This welcomed change laid the groundwork for what Hafeez and his contemporaries have developed further, drawing inspiration from Western trends in news presentation.

Hafiz, a Mass Communication and Journalism student from Dhaka University, embarked on his television career with DeshTV in 2009. His initial role as a reporter was demanding, with no days off except for exams. This rigorous schedule laid the foundation for his later success at ATN News and beyond.

Who excels in news presentation in your view?

Hafiz: It's a complex question. In private television, the challenge is to present news responsibly. With an average of 250 staff per channel and significant resources invested in content production, every newsreader bears the weight of delivering this content effectively. If a viewer switches channels, it reflects on the quality of the news service. Many colleagues excel in this vital task.

Have you faced challenges in establishing your unique style?

Hafiz: Yes, my journey wasn't without its challenges. The intensity of reporting and news presenting left little room for stylistic considerations. I believe news should be tone-neutral, mirroring everyday conversations. Initially, I didn't see my approach as exceptional, but it gradually gained recognition. I recall Humayun Faridi sir's advice: true validation comes when peers and students emulate your style.

How significant is appearance in news presentations?

Hafiz: Appearance plays a secondary role in news presentation. It's akin to the role of a restaurant's staff – the final touch in a long process of preparation and delivery. The greeting, attire, and service manner may influence customer satisfaction, but these are relatively minor compared to the content's substance.

Is it necessary for presenters to memorise news scripts?

Hafiz: That's a common misconception. We use autocue technology, but adaptability is key, as technical failures can occur. Major events often require news delivery without autocue, testing a presenter's true capabilities.

What qualifications are needed for a career in news reading?

Hafiz: Aspiring news presenters often start as part-time workers while pursuing university degrees. It's a competitive field, but perseverance pays off. Essential skills include mastery of language, sentence construction, general knowledge, and awareness of current affairs, especially in politics, economics, religion, and history.