The next generation of journalists graduated in 2020 into a challenging job market unlike any other. We spotlighted them this summer, shared advice from their role models, and are checking in with them this month to see where they are now and what they’re learning about journalism.
Name: Shabnam Danesh
School: American University
Job: Reporter, WMBD-TV
Best journalism moment: Community steps up to keep the Black press going through coronavirus
Where are you working right now?
Danesh: After hundreds of applications and dozens of interviews, I was just hired full-time as an on-air reporter for WMBD-TV in Peoria, Illinois — I start January 25!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned on the job search?
Danesh: As a career changer, I have experienced a LOT of impostor syndrome. I was pleasantly surprised by how helpful and genuine the journalism community is, especially given the competitive nature of the business. So many talented and accomplished people were willing to take time out of their busy day to talk to me and give me feedback and advice. It really shows the true nature of people who choose journalism as a career — you don’t do it for the money, you do it because you care. I treasure all of the connections that I have made so far.
What’s been your best moment in journalism since graduation?
Danesh: I published a story about how the Black press’ strong community ties have helped get them through the pandemic. I loved researching this topic and have really developed an interest in learning about African American history. There is so much I don’t know about and I am fascinated by every new thing I learn.
What do you wish you had learned as a student that you’re learning on the job?
Danesh: I wish I had taken some other classes, namely Investigative Broadcast Journalism and Advanced TV Production. I discovered how much I love telling stories through broadcast media in the spring and by then I had missed my chance. Also wish the pandemic hadn’t canceled my opportunity for a summer internship.
Have your journalism goals changed since graduation, and if so how?
Danesh: My five-year goal is to return to D.C. to work as a national field reporter. I am naturally curious and I don’t see myself anywhere but where the action is. I am always the one trying to figure out where an ambulance or police car is going. I am super excited for this next chapter in my life.
How are you taking care of yourself and staying motivated right now?
Danesh: Barre and yoga classes (virtually of course) and getting my nails done.