Friday, March 2, 2012

Habiba Nosheen Visits Scripps College of Communication

What does it take to be an independent journalist abroad? Habiba Nosheen gave valuable insights on this lifestyle to Ohio University students this past Tuesday.

The Institute for International Journalism (IIJ) in the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism in coordination with the School of Communication Studies welcomed Habiba Nosheen, from New York City, into classrooms and a public lecture later that evening. Nosheen, a Gemini-nominated Pakistani-Canadian journalist, came to the Scripps College of Communication to showcase her work as an independent international journalist and filmmaker to inspire seniors to pursue unlimited opportunities beyond the United States. The visit was made possible by the IIJ's global partner, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Nosheen’s topics ranged from tips on how to obtain funding to go abroad to ways of understanding and fitting in with the people you are covering. She also showed her Gracie Award-winning, investigative documentary “Left in Limbo: Nepalese adoptions halted.”

Many students were impressed and used their twitter to show their gratitude. Lindsay Boyle (@lboyle05) quoted Nosheen and tweeted, “Telling people’s stories changes their lives for the better: @habibanosheen.”

Habiba implored that, in order to eventually make it on your own as a independent journalist, you need to “intern where you want your pieces to appear in the future,” talking of her experiences at Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the New York Times (NYT).

With so many students interested in reporting abroad, Nosheen enthusiastically responded to questions, such as how to obtain reliable sources and what makes an idea worth investigating. Nosheen said “I ask myself, is it interesting enough for me to spend three years of my life on it,” speaking of her latest, but not yet released, documentary about women’s rights in her native country of Pakistan.

When asked how to make a story more readable and interesting Nosheen simply said, “Stories are not about ideas, they’re about people. If you can put a face to the problem… that will resonate.” Students reacted approvingly and were excited to quote her; Eric Wietmarschen (@WIETMARSCHEN) tweeted, “You can’t just sit down and say I’m going to think of a story today. When you hear an interesting idea write it down: @habibanosheen.”

Being an independent journalist who works abroad, Nosheen has learned some valuable skills to help fund the journey to her destinations. She implored, “Figure out what you like to do and then get someone to pay you for it.” She suggested generous, non-profit outlets, such as the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Students were thoroughly impressed with the IIJ’s initiative to get Nosheen and it’s drive to help students realize that there are no limits and no borders too far from a reporter’s curiosity.

Nosheen was a perfect candidate for students to admire because of her blend of drive, intelligence, and value for telling a good story. She encouraged students to look at all aspects of a story and stay objective, as every good journalist should.

Although the students gained insights into the life of an independent journalist, Nosheen also appreciated the students view as well. She implored that the students enrolled in the Scripps College of Communication are on the right path to success.

Nosheen tweeted, “Was a pleasure to meet aspiring journalists at @scrippsiij @OhioU this week. Some exceptional journalists in the making: @Pulitzercenter.”

The public event, which was organized by the IIJ's student organization, the Students for Global Media and Diversity, was well-received by all.

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