For a young housewife in Bogra, a business hub in northern Bangladesh, embarking on the profession of journalism itself require quite a big deal of courage and ambition. For Nasima Sultana Sutu, a graduate who choose to become a journalist back in 1997 it required strong commitments too.
And now 12 years down the line as she excelled not only in journalism but also accrued a good deal of acumen in the otherwise less traversed field of business journalism, Sutu becomes a household name in the journalist fraternity and business community in this northern township.
Sutu became involved in journalism in 1997 while she was still a student. She began her career with a four-page Bogra daily – Aaj O Agamikal. After serving there in the Mufassil Desk (National Desk) for about three years she joined the eight-page daily – Dainik Karotoa published from the same district in 2000. Karotoa is by far the most successful newspaper venture outside Dhaka business-wise.
Now that Sutu is married to Mohan Akhand, also a journalist working for a national daily, her inspiration begins at home.
Her reporting facilitated different businesses to witness growth in the volume in recent months. Along with other journalists she has reported on business sectors like share market and foundry industry. This led to progress of those sectors.
Business reporting in Bogra is a recent phenomenon. Reporters like Sutu had to struggle identifying issues and collecting relevant data on trade and business topics due to lack of necessary skills and knowledge. Thanks to a Katalyst intervention implemented through a development organisation Management and Resources Development Initiative (MRDI) that helped establish a working relationship and develop expertise on business reporting of the people in mass media. Activities included holding roundtables, participated by entrepreneurs and mass media workers, arranging field visits and organizing in-house programmes to strengthen expertise of the journalists of local newspapers. There were arrangements for collecting field data with every programme, for gaining real experience.
A major initiative of the project was to form the Business Reporters Network (BRN) in Bogra, holding roundtables and organising field trips. Afterwards, the journalists started writing on business and commercial activities. This resulted in a positive impact on the market. Like other journalists, Nasima Sultana Sutu actively took part in these activities. Side by side she also engaged herself in enriching business news/page of Dainik Karotoa as a Reporter. As a result Nasima Sultana is a familiar name as a journalist among the readers as well as the business circle in Bogra.
In Daily Karotoa journalist Sutu was pioneer in bringing out two weekly pages – Aajker Nari for write-ups on women issues and Sabujer Ashor for school students. Following the closures of these two weekly pages in 2006, Sutu started to work in reporting. Though she did not have a particular ‘beat’ she reported on women, children, education and business related issues with the consent of the newspaper’s authorities.
Of all the issues, Sutu is now more at ease with business reporting. Explaining she said, “you get the most response from business reporting. As the subjects of the reports are based on the problems and prospects of businessmen, the commercial side of the newspapers (advertisements and circulation) is also associated with it. As a result authorities are giving business news more coverage nowadays.”
While talking about her early days in business reporting, journalist Nasima Sultana Sutu said she developed a passion for business reporting while covering the shopping of people of all ages during Eid and Durga Puja, the two biggest festivals of Muslim and Hindu communities.
About her ease at mingling with businessmen while reporting for Eid and Puja series she said, “When I enter into a market with a notebook and a pen in hand, the owners of shops and showrooms compete for my attention. The owners rush in to inform me about the arrival of new items, their prices, the state of their sales, and request me for give a mention of their shops, showrooms in my reports. I enjoy this experience.” The shop owners are immensely benefited as their sales increase.
Sutu, who achieved quick recognition through business reporting, said, “One gets quick recognition through television journalism. It is because the reporter is seen and heard on television.” But she has set an instance that one can become famous through reporting in the print media too. Speaking of her close professional contacts with the owners of apparel, handcraft and cosmetics shops and showrooms, she said, they always keep her informed about any new developments.