Words of wisdom from 2016's journalists of the month

by Elyssa Pachico
Oct 30, 2018 in Journalist of the Month

Each month, IJNet profiles a different journalist who’s used IJNet as a resource to advance his or her career.

How has IJNet helped your career? We want to know! Send us a note at ijnetenglish@icfj.org, or post a comment in the IJNet Forum on Facebook.

In the meantime, here are some of our favorite comments and tips from our 2016 journalists of the month.

Shahram Haq (@Shahramhaq)

The Express Tribune, Pakistan

How he used IJNet: To apply for a Thomson Reuters course which took him to London to learn about financial news and business writing.

Words of wisdom: “Journalism is not a job; it is a lifestyle. If you need a steady, eight-hour job, this field is not for you.”

Andrii Bystrov

School of Media, Ukraine

How he used IJNet: To apply for an an ICFJ fellowship to cover a World Health Organization (WHO) forum in Brazil’s capital.  

Words of wisdom: “I always tell my students that journalism is the most interesting job in the world, but also the most demanding. So be honest firstly with yourself and do not be a mouthpiece for propaganda.”

Sarah Peter

Reuters, St. Lucia

How she used IJNet: To learn about a scholarship that allowed her to study at Columbia University in New York and a fellowship to cover a United Nations climate change conference in Paris.

Words of wisdom: “[The climate change fellowship] was a really wonderful experience! It gave me a chance to meet journalists from all over the world who I got to learn so much from.”

Anna Valmero (@annavalmero)

Freelance, The Phillippines

How she used IJNet: To apply for a fellowship to cover the COP21 climate talks in Paris, as well as a Thomson Reuters fellowship on climate change reporting.

Words of wisdom: “[Don’t be] shy about asking questions, even to your heroes. I was starstruck to meet Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the internet, at a conference a couple years ago. I was even unsure if I could have an interview with him, but I approached him and he gladly made time to chat.”

Kamilia Lahrichi (@KamiliaLahrichi)

Freelance, Latin America

How she used IJNet: To apply for fellowships that have supported her reporting in the Middle East, Germany, Brazil and New York.

Words of wisdom: “When I first started freelancing, I would write twice a week for the same news outlet. When the website went bankrupt, I had no source of income overnight. From then on, I worked for multiple media outlets to avoid falling into a similar situation.”

Sonali Kudva (@sonalikudva)  

Ph.D. student, Ohio

How she used IJNet: In various ways, including emailing relevant opportunities to her students.

Words of wisdom: “I don't consider myself a true academic, but then most journalists in academia are not. I find my work and training as a journalist definitely helps me in writing concisely and clearly.”

Bukunmi Ayo-Ariyo

TVC News, Nigeria

How she used IJNet: To apply for a Thomson Reuters course on business reporting in London.

Words of wisdom: “Be fearless in whatever you do. As a journalist, the public really looks up to you, so give them news as it is without leaning to one side or the other.”

Yusuf Omar (@YusufOmarSA)

The Hindustan Times, India

How he used IJNet: To stay up to date on global media news and as a resource for special journalism trainings.

Words of wisdom: “The most successful Facebook Live videos were done with one camera — shaky, handheld, bad audio, but critically, in the field. I think it's lazy not to be in the field.”

Ebenezar Wikina (@EbenezarWikina)

The Stroll, Nigeria

How he used IJNet: To educate himself on digital and mobile journalism via the News & Resources section.

Words of wisdom: “My advice to anyone just starting out is don’t be in a hurry to get out there… We all want to write on the big platforms like The New York Times or The Huffington Post, but you have to start small.”

María Julia Arana (@M_Juli)

ComunicarSE, Argentina

How she used IJNet: To discover the Dag Hammarskjöld Scholarship.

Words of wisdom: “It's important to specialize. Sometimes, when you want to do broad coverage, you can't really look at anything deeply. But if you specialize in something really specific, you can provide plenty of context.”

Fernanda Sánchez Jaramillo (@Fernandareports)

Freelance journalist, Colombia

How she used IJNet: To apply for the Rosalynn Carter Center Fellowship and ICFJ’s A Digital Path to Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Latin America fellowship.

Words of wisdom: “I strongly believe that journalists should be avid readers. Also, ethical and critical thinking are essential to producing in-depth journalism.”

Sara Cincurova

Freelance journalist, Slovakia

How she used IJNet: To attend an early-career journalists’ workshop in Germany, thanks to an IJNet opportunity.

Words of wisdom: “The most important aspect of my work is that I have always pursued projects that I was truly passionate about. I think that’s why many of them have worked.”