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BLOG: Journalist Visiting KARK Shares Take on Little Rock

Story by: Omaima Malik

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - When I was selected for the fellowship in the U.S., I was excited and was hoping to see a new country, meet new people and learn. 

Before flying to Washington, D.C., I was informed that I will be attached to KARK 4 News in Little Rock, capital of Arkansas State. Thus, the stranger landed in Little Rock. Some fears, some apprehensions and big hopes and fun were mixed.

But this state of mind did not last long. As we met our new colleagues at KARK 4 News office, Greg Yarbrough (Managing Editor), Ernie Paulson (Assistant News Director), Chanley Painter (Reporter) and other members of the team in the newsroom, they all washed away my fears and rejuvenated confidence and trust and hope. 

As I started moving around with my new colleagues, the local beauty, discipline, friendliness and calmness had a soothing effect on me.

I visited and traveled around the city over time, and every time I found a new face and color of the city, all very fascinating. Driving or walking through the streets and sites in Little Rock was a delight to enjoy and to remember. Covered with greenery, trees, flowers and eye-catching landscape always gave me a soothing impression and proved to be mood changing. It was almost impossible to stop myself from looking at the mesmerizing scenario around myself. Loads of trees, plants and flowers of various species scattered across the city catches attention and my eyes could not move away from the scenic surrounding. 

And people of Little Rock are amazingly friendly, helpful and supportive. Arkansas is a green state, if I may say, with a population of three million and spread at around 53,179 sq. miles. The locals call Little Rock a “Travel Worthy State Capital” and it is so true. The governor runs the affairs of the state but the mayor also has an important role for the betterment of the Capital City.

The population was not concentrated in the city but has a large suburb with the scattered population and beautiful landscaping. People demonstrate their love for nature, wildlife (animals, birds and reptiles), forests, mountains, rivers and everything an area needs to be known as beautiful, diverse and a hotspot for the visitors. People are very friendly and always ready to help the needy. They are so soft-hearted that even death of a bird or animal makes them said.

The city has many places/spots where one can go and spend quality time. If you love nature and feel comfortable with natural beauty and habitat go to Pinnacle Mountain State Park. For shopping lovers, huge shopping malls welcome them with open arms, and if one loves adventure Hot Springs is for them. 

The weather is hot and humid and being on the bank of a river, evenings turn pleasant. This reminded me of Hyderabad, a city in southern Sindh province (Pakistan) where the mighty Indus River passes through. 

The Arkansas River is also mighty and flows all seasons and provides sanctuary for wildlife in the state.

Locals, as other Americans, take full advantage of the weekend. They work hard during the week and enjoy weekends. They go on outings, but a good number loves going to casinos and clubs. The Little Rock population loves food and trying different cuisines and restaurants are the destination of a large number of people every day. 

People were punctual, dedicated and committed to their jobs and professions. They also participate in and celebrate all national days with fervor.

Despite its beauty and calm, the city also faces some problems related to drug addiction, homelessness and unemployment. In addition to government’s efforts, philanthropists are also contributing to check and solve these problems. 

Little Rock you Rock!

Omaima Malik, along with Sadia Rafay, are journalists from Pakistan who are visiting the KARK 4 newsroom this summer as part of a special program.

More about them:
Omaima Malik (BLOG: A Pakistani Journalist in Little Rock). She has been a reporter for Geo TV since 2013. Malik covers the Sindh Assembly, provincial government, and political parties. She also covers the environment and climate change, and other human interest stories with a special focus on women and children with respect to health, education, and civil rights. Malik has a master’s degree in mass communications with distinction from Karachi University. She is currently pursuing a PhD in mass communications. Before Geo, Malik worked at an Urdu-language daily newspaper Jehan-e-Pakistan (translation: “the world of Pakistan”).

Sadia Rafay (BLOG: Proud Pakistani JournalistShe has worked as a politics reporter at Dawn News TV since 2014. Rafay also produces reports on cultural events and short documentaries on social issues. She often hosts special transmissions and programs for cultural events, weather, festivals, and other important occasions. Rafay has a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and previously worked with Geo News. She is attracted to political journalism as female journalists in Pakistan typically do not cover “hard news” and also likes to cover cultural news to highlight the geographical and cultural diversity of Pakistan and the world. Rafay is determined to show her family that daughters are no less than sons.

Photo Gallery of locations Omaima has visited in and around Little Rock:

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