Informational Interview

            I have interviewed my supervisor, Heba El Qudsi, in Al Sharq Al- Awsat newspaper which is located in Washington DC. I decided to do the interview especially with her because she is the only woman who works in this newspaper in Washington DC, and simultaneously because of the fact that she is my supervisor. I have been impressed by Ms. Heba all the time during my internship in the newspaper for various reasons, such as being the supervisor and editor in chief for an Arabic woman is not an easy thing, especially when there is family and children. Also, Ms. Heba was always strict with all of the team there, she did not accept any lateness or indulgence at work.

When I interviewed her, I was confident that I would gain some more new information and a bit of her experience, and I did. As I started my interview questions, my first question was about her education. She has studied media and journalism in Egypt, Cairo, and had two diplomas from Egypt and North Carolina.

I also wondered why she did decide to study this major and she answered me that she has been reading a lot of magazines and newspaper when she was a little girl, and that was as a direct message to her that led her to think of studying media and journalism. She received a high GPA that allowed her to study whatever major she desires but she preferred to study media and journalism in Egypt.

As she was working hard, she did receive many journalism awards and the most important one was in 1994 from the United Nations for her press coverage of Biggins women conference.

Moreover, as for her choice of an Arabic newspaper to work with, she said that all of her work was with an Arabic newspaper, as she started in Today’s News, Egypt Today, the Pyramids, the world’s Today, and Egyptian Today. She then worked in Al Sharq Al- Awsat newspaper in 2002 in Cairo and then she moved to London.

I asked her, “What is your message for this filed you chose?” She answered, “I do want to make it clear to all Arabic people that they actually have misunderstood American politics and I really want to provide the information that Arabic readers need to know in order to understand American politics.” She continued, “My role here as a journalist is to provide what is related to Arabic countries and the United States relationship.

As her most complicated and hard moments or situations she had to face, she told me that being a journalist has many obstacles and complicated situations. One of the complicated situations she had is when she was working as a reporter and took some information as off-record information, she then was asked to give this information and the name of the person who gave this information. In the end, it was wrong information and they only wanted to see and know Arabic countries’ reactions to this information.

On the other hand, there were various good things in this field, such as the respect the journalists get from the governmental entities especially in Washington as they always interact with them and provide them with answers, while it is a little bit hard in Arabic countries.

I asked her if she could change one thing in this field, what this would be. She answered me that she does want to change the written journalism to be a visual and aural content as twitter and other social media platforms are being a danger to them. The youth tend to read through twitter because it is almost in a few sentences, while in the written journalism it is almost two-page news. So I seek to change it to a podcast or something like that.

I ended the interview by asking her for one piece of advice she could give me as an English and creative writing student who is interested in journalism. She advised me to read in all felids and not limit myself in a specific field and after I get knowledge in every field I then can limit myself in a specific one, such as literature, as this is my interest field.

Indeed, I had a big advantage from her interview, and I did learn so many new things that I have never known about. I know that being a journalist or even a reporter is not easy at all, and it is required knowledge, and experience in how to deal with people and complicated situations not only to be professional writers.

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