An Hour with‘Holiday Weekly’ | “Tourism Should Not be Restricted Merely to Murree and Northern Areas,” Dr. Salma

FAISALABAD: This week, our Associate editor, Soofia Javed, met Dr. Salma Umber, Chairperson Mass Communication department, GCUF (Government College University Faisalabad), who shared her experiences and struggles working as a journalist and a professor.

Dr. Salma is the embodiment of hard work and perseverance. She is a true example of how a woman should have utter faith in her abilities and not bound herself to the kitchen, but to do every possible thing to achieve her dreams.

Talking about her career, Dr. Salma stated that she has done her PhD in Mass Communication and before entering the field of teaching, she worked as a reporter for a number of prestigious newspapers, the likes of which include Nawa-i-waqt, Daily din and Daily Express. 

“Reporting was not a walk in the park. I had to travel a lot of places, sometimes in the scorching heat of June and July and sometimes in the foggy days of December and January”, recalled Salma. 

It was because of her splendid work as a reporter that she earned foreign fellowship and undertook her first trip to the USA as a reporter.

Dr. Salma further told Holiday Weekly how she groomed the BS program after becoming a part of GCUF and launched evening MPhil. She always took measures to ensure her students’ complete interaction with famous and known media professionals and stressed on practice as much as theory. 

“GCUF is like a second home to me. I feel the happiest when I see my alumni working in mainstream media and public sector departments.”

Simultaneously, Dr. Salma talked of how the job is more of a challenge than a privilege and how she works tirelessly to keep things on track, put checks on quality and come up with new and innovative ideas every day for the professional grooming of students. 

Highlighting the differences in foreign and Pakistan’s education system, Dr. Salma said, “I feel that our education system does not empower the teachers enough and allow them to take independent decisions. Teachers are continuously put into professional development programs in foreign universities and students are made critical thinkers.”

On being questioned about the contrasts in private and public sector, Dr. Salma stated that in her opinion, “Private sector values talent and definitely pays better. However, private organizations lack corporate culture and one always feels uncertain about his/her job. Public sector, on the contrary, has regular job structure but it does not provide you enough freedom and liberty to do some off-the-beat things.”

Talking about tourism, Dr. Salma spoke of government’s lack of seriousness and attention to the sector and believes that domestic tourism should not merely be restricted to Murree and northern areas. She feels that it is important to develop new tourism sites, and promote tourism in rural, agrarian Pakistan especially. 

“The world is earning from tourism. The government should adopt all possible policies to attract investors. Pakistan’s beauty is exemplary in the world”, added Dr. Salma.

According to Dr. Salma, women journalists have come a very long way and the journalism sector has undergone a complete evolution in that matter.  The challenges women faced in her times, when women journalists could be counted on fingers, have certainly reduced.

Dr. Salma is of the opinion that news channels now days are increasingly compromising quality of content over ratings and quantity. She says, “The rat race of breaking news, lack of double check of facts and figures and compromise on ethics for ratings has made our electronic media a laughing stock”. She believes that the role of editor needs to be established on strong footing in order to overcome these issues.

The team of Holiday Weekly had a delightful experience interviewing Dr. Salma Umber, who is determined to raise successful media professionals from the city of Faisalabad.

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