Monday, July 30, 2007

Diary: Week Seventeen

I was very frustrated with a senior copy editor who was doing the page-make-up of Health and Science page for last Wednesday's issue.
As I said in my last diary, I took a long time to finish the story on Attention Deficit Disorder as the patients, parents and doctors responded very lately. But I was happy when I filed a comprehensive story.
After starting editing, the copy editor, who was given the task as my editor was out of town on vacation, came to my desk and said he did not find why should we run a story on ADD now, what's new there in the story.
I also had the same problem when I started writing the story because it is not a new disease
or the book I focused on is also not new. The book was first published in 1989 and the second edition came out in September last year. However, while giving me the assignment, my editor told me it was a new book and the focus would be writing on the book and a little bit about the author who is from Pittsburgh. In fact, my editor didn't know it was an old book.
With all these well in my mind, I tried to make the story interesting by turning it into a story on ADD with latest information available on it, parents, patients and physicians' comment about the treatment method of the Pittsburgh physician,
Dr. Craig B. Liden, comments about the book and Dr. Liden's story about people with ADD.
It doesn't matter how many stories have so far been written about ADD, the readers may need one more story that would give them good insight about the problem, I thought. It is because I, like many people, did not find very good easily-to-read and -understand materials for lay persons about the whole thing. The write-ups available on Websites are either vague or too overwhelming to get what you want to know straight.

So I tried to blend it with whatever I found to make it interesting, but failed to convince the copy editor that there may be one more story on ADD in my newspaper which would 'really' inform people about it.
He held the story for my editor to decide it's fate, and I was also happy thinking that my editor would get my point.
And I was right. My editor appreciated my effort and just added a clause with my intro about starting of new school year. She also called one of the parents to convince her to use her full name in the story but for no result.
I was sure that she was going to cut the story drastically because it was longer than average major stories, but she didn't do so. She also agreed that people would love to read such a story. Bingo!
I started working on the Bangladeshi scientist who received $1 million Grainger Award in February for developing filter that removes arsenic from drinking water. The filter is working very well in Bangladesh which is facing crisis for arsenic in groundwater a lot since the 1990s. Abul Hussam also has a connection with Pittsburgh: he earned
doctoral degree in analytical chemistry at Pittsburgh University in 1982. I sent him an email requesting him to send me materials on his works and whether he has any plan to work in the United States because some parts of the U.S. also have the same problem. In reply, he sent me some scientific reports on his work. But these are academic stuff, people won't love to read these "hard" things. I wrote him that I need to know his follow up works, what he is doing now. I got information from Bangladesh that his team is working to make filters for use at community and industrial level. If that's true, it would make a good story. Although I wrote him last week, he is yet to respond as he was busy preparing his presentation which he was going to make at a scientists' seminar in New York.
Though I didn't get any story published this week, I had a good weekend with Bangladeshi people living in Pittsburgh.
I attended a dinner at the house of one of their house Saturday. The party soon turned into a place for political discussion and took a bad turn when three of them got emotional at one stage. One of them shouted at the top to the two others as they told something about the political party
he supports, and stormed out of the house.
But I had a diversion there as I was singing in the living room. Since I was the singer of the day, I had to sing as long as I could. We also had some chorus on folk songs.
Although it's
not winter, I had a great time visiting mountain resort Seven Springs. Located
approximately one hour's drive southeast of Pittsburgh, it's a year-round resort and convention center offering skiing/snowboarding, snow tubing, sleigh rides, golf, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
Bangladeshi cardiologist Dr. Shamsher Bakth took me there and I'm grateful to him for showing me such a beautiful place. It's stretched over a huge area and has houses near the top from where the skiers start. Dr. Bakth has a beautiful house there with a great view (photo 1 taken from his house).
And the day ended with happy tunes: facing the mountain, we sat at the Seven Springs hotel where a singer with great "bass" performed several beautiful numbers.

1 comment:

Katie Ravenel said...

Shamim, it sounds like this was a great week. You can tell your copy editor that ADD is very important! Both my sister and my brother had it, not to mention some of my best friends. And your trip to the mountain resort sounds fabulous. Sounds like somewhere I would really enjoy! I actually love winter resorts in the summer time. There is still hiking, biking, and clearly good bassists! See you in a couple of weeks!