Pulitzer Journalists share their experiences with NU-Q Community

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Pulitzer Journalists share their experiences with NU-Q Community

Photo by Silma Suba

Photo by Silma Suba

Photo by Silma Suba

Photo by Silma Suba

By Silma Suba

 

Photo by Silma Suba

Photo by Silma Suba

 

Four journalists from Pulitizer Center for Crisis Reporting recently shared their experiences in the Middle East with NU-Q students and faculty, starting with a documentary of a Pakistani rape victim that closed with a fierce audience debate.

The documentary, which took five years to make, was “Outlawed in Pakistan,” a story of a young Pakistani girl and her family’s journey for justice after her alleged gang rape in 2007.

“I went to the screening because it had something to do with Pakistan, the country where I was born and raised,” said Muhammad Siyab Panhwar, a second year medical student at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q). “The story was beautifully portrayed and it highlighted an important social issue that people are aware of but don’t often speak about.”

The four Pulitzer Center journalists included Tom Hundley, senior editor at the Pulitzer Center and a 36-year veteran in journalism; Alia Malek, A senior staff writer at Al Jazeera America whose background is Syrian American; Ayman Oghanna, a British-Iraqi freelance photojournalist and documentary filmmaker Habiba Nosheen. The four were invited to NU-Q by the university’s journalism department, to expose the work of emerging journalists in the Muslim world to students and staff.

In addition to the film screening, which was hosted by Canadian-Pakistani filmmaker Habiba Nosheen and kicked off the week-long visit, the journalists visited classes and held photography and writing workshops as well as a career panel with students and community meetings.

A community meeting where all four journalists spoke was followed that evening by the controversial documentary’s screening.

“This is actually the first time that this film has been screened in an Islamic country,” said Habiba Nosheen. “The audience here had different sentimentalities and questions than the ones back in the States, which was really interesting for me.”

To make the film, Nosheen and her team followed the female protagonist, Kainat Somroo, and her family around Pakistan as they fought against the justice system in their country. The film was funded by the Pulitzer Center.

“It’s always a great opportunity to meet journalists working in the field,” said Jaimee Haddad, journalism junior at NU-Q and vice president of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), who collaborated with the journalism department to plant the week’s events.

“It was beneficial to look at their work and learn from their experiences, especially for students who plan on staying in this region to work after graduation. Their work was quite inspiring to see,” added Haddad.

“Of all the speakers that NU-Q has brought in the past year that I’ve been here, these journalists were by far the most interesting and relatable,” said Aisha Jassim, journalism sophomore at NU-Q. “They didn’t just come to class and give us long lectures, but they actually critiqued our past work and helped us understand how we could do things better in the future.”

According to Ayman Oghanna, the weeklong events and interaction with the students was a learning experience for him as well.

“The quality of work and images produced by the students here is in some ways better than the ones I’ve seen in my journalism school back home,” said Oghanna. He also added that his favorite session was meeting with students and learning about their challenges as journalism students in Qatar.

Tom Hundley, a senior editor at the Pulitzer Center, said this was the second time he had come to Qatar; said he was greatly impressed b Education City and what it stands for.

“Education City is a serious educational enterprise, and you get that feeling the moment you walk in and look at the distinguished architecture,” said Hundley. “What’s impressed me the most is to see how engaged the students here are in what they do.”

 

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