Journalism Grad Takes Talent to NYC and Lebanon
Doha Madani interviews Syrian refugees in Bekaa, Lebanon
After graduating from The University of Tampa in May 2015 with a double major in journalism and government and world affairs, Doha Madani set her sights on the big apple.
Madani enrolled in the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism to pursue international reporting and fully immerse herself in foreign correspondent work. CUNY’s journalism faculty includes current and former journalists from PBS, The Economist, The New York Times and NBC Nightly News.
Madani recently returned from interning with The Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon, where her most memorable moment was interviewing Syrian refugee children visiting a technology center.
“Interviewing kids is always tough, but they were so oblivious to what was going on around them that it was crazy,” she says. “They would tell me about how they have to help their parents, how many siblings they had, how excited they were to go to this center, just a few hours a week.”
Reporting in Lebanon presented challenges, but Madani quickly learned to adapt.
One advantage Madani brought with her was the ability to speak Arabic. “Even though we print in English, a lot of times I’d be interviewing people, and if they didn’t know something in English, they’d start speaking Arabic.”
Madani credits UT student newspaper The Minaret as being the best preparation she could get for the real world and writing in general. During her time at UT, Madani was responsible for launching an expanded multimedia section.
“It showed me that if you really want to make it in journalism, you have to put your hand in every pot,” she says. “The Minaret is a small staff with a ton of ambition. That means editors have to jump in wherever possible.” For example, she recalls being in the newsroom on production night when a writer’s story fell through at the last minute, leaving her an hour to write a new story. She made the deadline.
Madani will graduate from CUNY in December. “I want to be a voice for the voiceless,” she says. “I hope I can get my foot in the door at a place that will offer me the opportunity to write good stories and make people think a little differently about a situation.”