Role: Digital Editor for Global Nation at PRI
1. What’s the best professional decision you’ve ever made?
The best decision I ever made was to focus on the work — to stop worrying about the brands behind my work and think more about the people I work with and whether I feel good about my contributions to the world at the end of the day.
2. What’s something you’ve learned from a professional setback or challenge?
Years ago, I covered the conflict in Sri Lanka. I spent years developing sources and learning about the island's complex history and long war. Finally, in 2007, I got a fellowship from the South Asian Journalist Association to go there at the very violent end of conflict. It was a powerful and devastating experience, and I knew that this was a very important story. For months, though, I couldn't find an editor or a magazine that agreed. The news agenda, it seemed, had already been set and it didn't include Sri Lanka and 10s of thousands of people who were killed in those months. I honed the pitch again and again for months, and finally did a series of three investigative stories for the Far Eastern Economic Review, which treated the reporting with a great critical eye and gave it prominence. The biggest lessons I learned: Look for editors who care about your work and lead with whatever is most relevant for their audience.
3. What is one thing you wish you would’ve known “then”?
Back then, I wish I knew that value in a news ecosystem is not just about landing a story in the biggest brand news outlet. That now, we don't have to rely on those gatekeepers and can find success with or without them.
4. How have you leveraged experiences you’ve had and connections you’ve made at NABJ/NAHJ conferences?
This will be my second NABJ and my first NAHJ conference. NABJ last year was a revelatory experience for me (and not just because of Prince). I don't usually like journalism conferences — I prefer to go to spaces where I don't know people and can learn from people outside our profession — but NABJ was the best of the ones I've been to. I met amazing people who I still message with and talk through ideas with, and I also learned a lot about the angles to stories about social justice, education and international news that matter to journalists of color (and their respective communities). I've pushed forward those angles in our own editorial meetings at PRI.
I'm also really looking forward to using my new connections from this conference to expand our network of freelancers. (Pitch here!)
5. What’s one of your favorite public media stories, podcasts, shows or series? Why?
Can I give a non-public media example? Right now, I love LOVE the podcast What's Ray Saying? (Sorry to any of you who must be thinking I'm on repeat about this.) It's beautiful storytelling that brings the past into the present and vice versa. It provides perspective in so many ways. I'm also very much in mourning for the end of The Toast. That site didn't just explain the world to me, it often gave me new vocabulary to talk about the world in more equitable ways.
In public media, I really appreciate Fronteras Desk and their consistent reporting from the border. Latino USA is also killing it, especially their latest collaboration with Radio Ambulante (start here). A bit closer to home for me, watch out for the excellent work of Mukhtar Ibrahim and the amazing social storytelling of Kierran Petersen at PRI's The World.
Follow Angilee: @angshah