Some of our International News Media students (and others) Tweeted Wednesday’s talk by the former Current TV journalist Euna Lee who was imprisoned in North Korea for 140 days.
You might think imprisoned journalists are a CSUN Journalism Department specialty, but I’d rather say we like to support tenacious journalists, videographers and anyone else who wants to bring us the untold stories from other parts of the world.
Seth’s documentary has been raking in awards in the last couple of months: Broadcast Education Association honorable mention and Thesis of the Year for the Journalism Department.
And there’s more good news.
Esha Momeni accepted a human rights award this weekend from the Visual Artists Guild, which is given in honor of the students killed at Tiananmen Square. Esha also accepted an award from the Feminist Majority Foundation last month for the women activists currently jailed in Iran. She appeared on a panel with feminist icon Gloria Steinem, United Farmworkers co-founder Delores Huerta and Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner (bootleg video coming soon). Esha will be entering the Women’s Studies doctoral program at UCLA this fall.
Anasa Sinegal has been accepted into the PhD program in Mass Comm at UNC-Chapel Hill and awarded one of their prestigious Park Fellowships. She departs for the Land ‘o Grits this summer. Shannon Sindorf was accepted into the PhD program at Colorado.
Sahar El Zahed presented her research on Western news coverage of the Gaza conflict at the “Ruptures of War” conference at the Claremont Colleges last month prompting a lively discussion.
Congratulations to our students.
Truth be told, I was feeling discouraged lately, what with the devastating cuts to higher education in California. I don’t know what our future holds, but what I do know is that I work with some talented people:
- Grad student Kenya Young has landed a producer’s position with NPR‘s
“Weekend All Things Considered” in DC.
- @Lizohanesian, an alum of our MA program, was hired this month as reporter-editor on the webside of the LA Weekly.
- Esha Momeni, our grad student who was jailed in Iran last fall, will be speaking at Amnesty International’s Southern regional meeting in Atlanta this weekend. Esha will also speak at CSUN Monday Nov. 9 at the Northridge Center in the student union at 5:20 p.m.
- Graduate student Seth Koury showed a roughcut of his amazing documentary, “Sound of Beirut” to some faculty members earlier this month. Guess this means we gotta let the guy graduate.
- Graduate student Sara Alamdar will defend her thesis in a few weeks. She studied coverage of Iran’s religious minorities by the government-controlled Tehran Times to see if the reporting changed under a reformist president versus a conservative president.
- Colleague Linda Bowen is serving as President of the Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. We attended the First Amendment Coalition’s event at Southwestern Law last Saturday where the LAT’s lawyers scared the beejebus out of journalists wanting to use Twitter or Facebook.
- Sandra Kukla‘s thesis comparing AP coverage of the Gaza crisis with Malaysia’s Bernama wire service is nearly finished. Um, right?
- Claire Rietmann-Grout is busy editing and researching her upcoming thesis project, a documentary about her experiences as an American softball star who travels to Switzerland to play for a “club” and finds a different way of looking at the game and herself.
Recent CSUN grad Anasa Sinegal documents her search for a job in what may be the worst economic climate since the Depression on the wonkster employment blog, Workforce Developments, this week. Anasa is one of our top students, an Emmy winning former television journalist, who won thesis of the year in our department last spring. As HuffPost columnist Laura Chapin writes, the current 18-35 generation is facing a difficult economic future. In the meantime, Anasa is continuing her public intellectual work and will join former classmates John Daquioag and Esha Momeni on a panel later this fall at Cal Poly’s Global Citizenship conference.
Sarah Rosenblum, a graduate from a few years ago, recently landed a new job as events coordinator at the G2 Gallery after an extensive search in the turbulent SoCal job market. A very active gallery in Venice with lots of cool events, G2 focuses on environmental issues. Sarah’s former classmate, Treepon Kirdnak, who teaches at Bangkok U in Thailand, is the co-author of a new study (w/ me!) that I will present at a conference at UC Riverside on Saturday. Treepon works a grueling schedule at his university and I’ve been amazed at how he’s still been able to come up with so many fresh insights. Must be something in the Som Tom.
Another graduate of our program, Liz Ohanesian, who has been pounding LA’s streets as a freelance writer and racking up the bylines at LA Weekly, will talk about how she has built a free-lance writing career in one of my journalism classes tomorrow morning. I am going to try to live stream with my cellphone via Qik. Wish me luck!
Our graduate student Esha Momeni is back from Iran after spending nearly a month in Evin prison and then being under a 10-month travel ban — all for simply interviewing the courageous women in the One Million Signature Campaign for women’s rights in Iran. Below are some of the articles documenting her return.
ABC’s Lara Setrakian, who has been one of the best reporters on the election protests and Green Movement in Iran, interviews Esha about her experiences during the election unrest this summer. (Like a lot of other people, I became aware of Lara’s work via her Twitter posts as they appeared on iran.twazzup.)
In an interview with Fox News 11, Esha noted that her goal — bringing a new image of Iranian women to the US — was accomplished even if her thesis materials including her videos were confiscated by Iranian security forces. Multiple reporters here and in Washington, D.C., from Fox maintained an interest in Esha’s story. While the national outlets pushed a confront-Iran frame, the local reporter, Christina Gonzalez, was quite responsible and fair in her reporting.
The Daily News’ Connie Llanos profiled Esha. Connie was one of the first reporters on the story when Esha was imprisoned and I was struck by how much attention she paid to getting it right while giving consideration to Esha’s safety.
In a second story, Connie reported on Esha’s classmates’ relief at her return, quoting Anasa Sinegal who, along with Kara Lawton, turned their master’s thesis into a project documenting their work to free their friend.
Called the Please Free Esha Project, it won the thesis of the year award in the Journalism Department, and is intended to serve as a both an historical record (see complete text version at Oviatt Library) as well as an online resource for other human rights activists and their supporters.
The news of Esha’s freedom came first via a website for the One Million Signature Campaign in California and where you can see a photo of her being greeted at the airport. That news was followed by the Cal State Northridge’s Daily Sundial’s text and video reports. The first photos (which one journalism professor said reminded her of Abercrombie and Fitch ads!) came from CSUN’s talented Jonathan Pobre. These appear with the Daily News story.
AP also interviewed Esha. They assigned the story to Shaya Tayefe Mohajer who speaks Farsi.
The Los Angeles Times ran a press release quoting CSUN’s president. Photos of Esha were initially hard to come by (unless you were willing to use Jonathan’s shots) and they choose to run one of the old photos of Esha from last fall.
For the big picture, the Department of Journalism has noted that
Esha’s imprisonment brought the department together for a common cause – the safe return of our student – and reminded us how important it is not merely to seek the truth but to support each other in our quest to bring the world news of injustices and oppression no matter where those stories take place or how difficult the pursuit of them may be.
And for the many people who have worried on Esha’s behalf about the loss of her thesis project, not to worry. She already has a new one in the works — a photography exhibition. Not surprisingly, it’s about human rights in Iran, it’s creative, it’s original, it’s surprising, in short, it’s Esha.