Why did you decide to study at The School of The New York Times?
365体育备用网址I decided to study at The School of The New York Times because I thought it presented a one-of-a-kind opportunity to intellectually challenge myself and improve my writing in the company of some of the world’s most talented storytellers. Additionally, a chance to meet like-minded individuals who are passionate about doing work that protects democracy was something I did not want to pass up. The past two years [of studying at SoNYT] have been transformative. Watching public figures attack democratic institutions, encourage racism and violence, and contort truth has demonstrated our democracy’s fragility. The New York Times, and media organizations like it, play a vital role in a healthy democracy, and can protect our institutions and freedoms by publishing truthful and urgent stories; which prompted me to apply for The School of The New York Times.
Which course did you take and why?
I took the “Introduction to Investigative Journalism” course offered through the school’s New York campus. To me, investigative journalism is one of the most impactful forms of storytelling. It mandates the highest ethical and moral standards, and also oftentimes requires the most intensive reporting work, but has the potential to shift values, frame discussion, and change public opinion. Most importantly, investigative journalism done with empathy and rigor can uncover systemic injustice and prompt meaningful legislative action.
If you had to name one thing that you learned from your time here, what is that one takeaway that will stay with you?
One thing this course has given me is a newfound appreciation for patterns. Recognize and make note of patterns in your community, and investigate when something seems out of place. Journalism can feel daunting: “How do I find a story? Is this ‘news-worthy?’”, but I learned that when approached methodically and with a clear objective, you can conduct successful and in-depth investigations.
What was your favorite site visit?
My favorite site visit was Group 15’s trip to Broadway to see To Kill a Mockingbird in the Shubert Theater. Jeff Daniels starred as Atticus, and I thought the play did a wonderful job of adapting a book that is driven very little by plot into an exciting and plot driven performance; all while retaining Lee’s powerful commentary on justice, race, and class in America. First opened in 1913, the Shubert Theater is eclectic. Combined with To Kill a Mockingbird, which is staged in the 1960’s, walking into the theater feels like you’ve stepped from Times Square, with jumbotrons sporting larger square-footages than my house, back in time.
Who was the most memorable guest speaker?
365体育备用网址To me, our classes most memorable guest speaker was Brian Rosenthal of The New York Times. Brain is an investigative journalist at The Time’s Metro Desk, and recently published an exhaustive investigation into New York City’s taxi industry. He uncovered dangerous and predatory lending practices from local credit unions, and a Taxi and Limousine Commission that turned a blind eye, and in some cases encouraged, an industry that was keeping thousands of taxi drivers in indentured servitude. I have read and admired Brian’s work long before coming to the School of The New York Times, and was starstruck meeting him. He walked our class through his investigative process and discussed the technique and methodology he used reaching each conclusion in his report, which gave me tools I am excited to use in my own work.
What were your faculty like?
My course’s instructors were remarkable. The lead instructor was Azmat Khan, a world-class investigative journalist with the New York Time’s Magazine. She is probably best-known for her 2017 report into U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in Iraq: The Uncounted, which found that civilians were victims of airstrikes at a rate of more than 31 times what the coalition had reported, meaning that hundreds of innocent civilian deaths had gone unreported. Having the opportunity to learn from a journalist, writer, and scholar of her caliber is incredibly rare and infinitely valuable. Azmat took us through the steps she took conducting her investigations, introduced us to talented and passionate journalists from some of the most widely read and respected news outlets in the country, and gave us insight and feedback on our own work and ideas. Most importantly, though, Azmat cares deeply about what she does and recognizes the immense responsibility an investigative journalist has to give a voice to the powerless.
What does The New York Times mean to you?
To me, The New York Times is a publication that fundamentally stands for our democracy’s values, almost all of which have been assailed in recent years. They are not a perfect publication— media conglomerates rarely are— but care deeply about what they do and are steadfast in their commitment to report the truth and hold powerful entities accountable. Additionally, The Time’s have a dynamic wealth of resources and, as a result, are able to employ some of the most brilliant journalists and writers in the world; like Azmat Khan, for example.
What does it mean to you to study in New York City?
365体育备用网址I had never been to New York before attending The School of The New York Times, so I had no previous experiences that influenced my decision to attend there. There are few cities of comparable size and influence, which made New York all the more alluring to explore and learn in for two weeks independently. To say it is unique that my first experiences in the city were with journalists from The New York Times would be an understatement. I found that in one of the biggest cities on Earth, the small things made the difference, like watching fireflies in Central Park or stepping out of the subway into a world unknown; what feels like a different city is really just 30 blocks from where you were an hour ago. I was drawn to the city’s intense, palpable energy as soon as I got there and I can’t wait to go back.
What do you think you want to be when you grow up?
In short: I’m not sure. And thankfully, this program reassured me that being unsure is perfectly okay. In fact, most of the guest speakers we met, who all are now renowned in their field, told us that they hadn’t been sure, either, and didn’t figure out that journalism was something they wanted to do for the rest of their lives until even after they graduated college. Right now I know I love writing; and that whatever my career, I want to work somewhere where my writing has influence and can truly make a difference.