The next generation of journalists graduated in 2020 into a challenging job market unlike any other. We spotlighted them last summer, shared advice from their role models, and are checking in with them to see where they are now and what they’re learning about journalism.
Name: Malak Silmi
School: Wayne State University (Michigan)
Where are you working right now?
Silmi: I’m currently working part time as an Arabic Information Needs Reporter at Outlier Media in Detroit.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned on the job search?
Silmi: I’m currently looking for a job in San Antonio since I recently moved here, and my current job ends in early 2021. It’s been a bit hard connecting with people and executives, as well as even finding journalism or media-related jobs. Moving across the country during a pandemic and looking for a new job when almost everything is virtual is really stressful. One lesson I did learn was to keep an eye out for opportunities for months and a year ahead and to apply to them. I had to be proactive and utilize Twitter posts and LinkedIn as much as possible.
What’s been your best moment in journalism since graduation?
Silmi: My best moment so far has been holding officials accountable for language accessibility needs during the election in Michigan. There were efforts statewide to make sure materials were translated and some state and local government work was delayed.
What do you wish you had learned as a student that you’re learning on the job?
Silmi: I wish we were taught more about searching public records online and investigating public officials more closely. Navigating government websites to pull out and understanding essential data and information is something I’m learning on the job right now.
Have your journalism goals changed since graduation, and if so how?
Silmi: Yes. I had always seen journalism as mostly informing the community about what’s going on in the world, but with my current role that goal is more refined. As a journalist, we’re entrusted by the public to watch elected officials, corporations and those in power and to make sense of every move, law, and decision that’s made, as well as to make sure the public has all of the facts and information about every aspect of their lives. My goal is to make sure the stories I work on are able to benefit readers and allow them to not only be informed about news, but to understand and be able to use it. For example, instead of just writing about the fact that there are so many food banks available for those who need it during the pandemic, it’s important for us to list those sites and to find sites for those who may not have transportation to visit those sites. News is a service, and I hope to be able to serve as many people as possible.
How are you taking care of yourself and staying motivated right now?
Silmi: I spent a lot of time with my family before I moved out and in with my fiancé, and so that meant a lot of board games, movie nights and really good meals. I journal a lot of personal reflections, which keeps me sane, and just recently finished the novel, “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.