Coffee, WhatsApp and electric brains!

January 27, 2015 0 By User Interview With…Kazi Mahmood, Business Editor, Malay Mail

What does a day in the Malay Mail newsroom look like?
It is a hectic affair, with the various News Editors chasing their Reporters for their stories. It is however, much less hectic with the business desk, as our stories are in earlier during the day. The business desk gets very hectic if there is a huge announcement, like the recent budget revision, during which time we have to get the comments from experts and economists to analyse the measures taken by the Malaysian Prime Minister to curb the potential rise in budget deficit and so on. At Malay Mail we have four pages of business for the moment, but it is still challenging to find lead stories at times, though in this period of economic uncertainties there are many story ideas that come to mind and we get cracking with the phone calls and email conversations with Analysts and officials on a daily basis.

How and where did you start your journalism career?
I have a long career in journalism, which started in Mauritius in 1981 when I was the Correspondent for a few London based business and political publications. As a matter of fact, I was reporting more on politics than business or economy with the Africa Now magazine, which was a Nigerian government funded publication in London.

From there, I got exposure in the African Business, which is still a popular magazine on the African continent. It was also based in London, and this is where I mastered my ‘business’ writing skills, working for them for at least 13 years.

Along the way, I got involved with the BBC Radio Network Africa, which was the leading BBC Africa radio station. It was a learning curve for me, jumping from written journalism to spoken intervention. We had to use the regular office or house phones to contact the BBC Network Africa Editors in London, but the amazing thing was the rapidity I had to put my stories together and to read it on the phone to the Editors who would record them.

The next thing was to listen to your voice on the BBC channels, and that always made my day!

What exactly does a Business Editor for the newspaper do?
My duties are to assign the story ideas to the Reporters, or to get them to go for assignments which I decide upon. At times, the News Editors will discuss some specific assignments for the business desk in the editorial meetings, and I will delegate them to the Reporters or my Assistant Editor Sathish P.G.

The entire business pages reflect how I assigned the jobs to the guys, and what comes out of these assignment would, in most circumstances be about the questions that I would formulate for the Reporters to ask during the press conferences or interviews. 

I edit the articles sent to the desk by the Reporters. If they did not get the story the way I wanted it, with a specific lead, I would sometimes ask them to rewrite the articles or get back to the responsible parties at the companies etc to get them to answer the questions that I would have sent earlier!

Finally, I am also responsible for the reviewing of the articles that has been subbed by the Sub-Editors, and review the final layout of the pages done by the graphic team.

What are the deadlines for your publication?
We are a daily paper, with five working days for the business pages, which means we do not have business pages during weekends prints.

How do you prefer to be contacted?
I like emails, or whatsapp.

What are the traits of your favourite PR people to work with?
I prefer the guys who are straightforward. When we request a story, and they cannot get it for us, that’s fine with me. 

What are your interests and hobbies?
I like to surf (the web), but it will probably surprise many that I like to write a lot, a lot more than I do for the business desk. I write for my blog and on my Facebook page which I manage. It is a page that reflects my blog which is called 

If you had to choose: coffee, lunch or drinks?
I do not drink alcohol. I love coffee but I go slow on them, since it dehydrates my body at a rapid pace. My lunch is usually stable food!

Favourite type of cuisine?
Northern Indian will be my favourite, but living in Malaysia, I am now accustomed to Rendang and surely Ikea food!

What would your super power be?
The electric brain that I have? 🙂