Young journalist

Category: Young journalist

Country/area: Egypt

Organisation: InfoTimes

Organisation size: Small

Cover letter:

I grew up watching the news; hearing stories from around the world, realizing that the Sudan people are reporting about is not the Sudan I know. I am part of the diaspora generation. Everywhere I go I hear the same comment: “Is it safe in Sudan?” “Do you guys have streets?” “Is it an actual country?” “What is Sudan like?” These questions REALLY frustrated me because it showed me how ignorant the world is. But how could I have blamed them if all they see in the news is the war that broke out in the south and west? I want people to understand that my country is more than just a conflict zone. I want them to know that there is a deeply embedded cultural heritage that goes beyond war. Most of our history has been written and told through a colonial perspective. I believe that people’s stories should be told by one of their own. I want to be the voice of my Sudanese generation because I understand what they are going through. The role of journalism is to inform. It is my duty as a journalist to revive my country’s history and shed light on its present by sharing these stories with the public sphere. The opportunity to grow as a journalist in Sudan is very difficult with the tight leashes on the press. Most of the regional and international opportunities available are not open for Sudanese. There are very limited opportunities for women to work in the field of journalism in the region because it is  relatively conservative, especially when it comes to the matter of gender roles, as well as the restriction on media outlets. Despite the limitation, I have persisted to contribute to the field of journalism by working as a reporter and producer. With the help and support of my previous professor and now mentor, Kim Fox, I was able to pioneer different multimedia tools, such as infographics and video stories, in several local media outlets. I attended a workshop on data journalism two years ago – to me the field was intriguing as I believe that data supports a story by providing numerical evidence and non-numerical information. However, the opportunities are very scarce as there is only one platform that tackles stories using this form of reporting. Currently, I am now a part of a team in the region’s first data journalism platform, InfoTimes. InfoTimes’ founder, Amr Eleraqi introduced me with the necessary tools to create data-driven stories supported by data visualizations. I was shortlisted for the BBC Komla Dumor Young African Journalist in 2018. I was selected as one of 7 journalists in Egypt to produce a short documentary as part of Open Media Hub’s “Being 20” series. 

Description of portfolio:

I introduced video stories to the platform as well as produced and edited high impact video stories about mental health hospitals, homeless shelters, animal shelters, and water pollution in Egypt generating over 200,000 views and 50,000 new followers during my time at Egyptian Streets – leading independent media outlet. I wrote stories about current events, arts and culture and entrepreneurship, as well as feature stories tackling social issues like single motherhood in Egypt, sexual assault and harassment, environmental challenges facing Egypt. I conducted interviews with high authoritative figures knowledgeable about each story’s subject matter. When i was working in Egytpian Streets, we partnered up with NGOs to create campaigns to raise awareness about sexual harassment and assault in Egypt by releasing a series of articles tackling the subject from different angles. We also partnered up with NGOs to launch a campaign against the disposal of plastic waste in the Nile River by releasing a series of articles tackling the subject from different angles as well as participating in the Nile clean up campaign. In Business Forward – business and finance platform- I piloted visualizing stories through video storytelling and produced stories on AI, health tech, entrepreneurship, blockchain and the automotive industry generating over 55,000 views. I also researched industry trends and created visually appealing infographics using data to shed light on topics such as entrepreneurship ecosystem, and Egypt’s road network funding.  As part of the InfoTimes team, I generated data driven stories ideas and used statistical analysis tools to write stories about air pollution, marriage age, and agriculture in a compelling format. I used statistical tools to identify significant data trends for stories such as obesity rate, sucide rate, annual rainfall rate. I also design infographics in accordance with each story using data visualization tools such as Tableau, Infogram, Flourish and Datawrapper. I led editorially on data projects related to clients and supervised the work of other data team colleagues. In 2018, I directed and produced a short documentary for Open Media Hub’s “Being 20” series that aimed to tell stories about people in their 20s. My documentary was about the first ballet school in Upper Egypt. This experience really put my skills to the test because I had to single handedly organize the whole production. I was able to hire cameramen, rent the needed equipment and book a car to take us to the location (which was approximately 5 hours away) all under 4 hours from the expected travel time because the interviewees confirmed at a short notice. I learned how to manage a team and plan for a production under pressure.


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