Logo

Arab American Journalists Get the Floor

Jul 20, 2008  •  Post A Comment

“After Sept. 11, people told me I could write my own ticket,” Arab American reporter and AAJA member Natasha Ghoneim said, “but in my career, being an Egyptian has never helped me.
“So many broadcasters think, ‘We need a certain cast of characters’ that are supposed to be indicative of our community. But because of the political climate—or maybe because of our inability to navigate the political waters—we don’t have much of a voice.”
Ms. Ghoneim will take part in the panel “From Iraq to Iowa: Covering Arab Americans—How to Get It Right on Deadline,” scheduled for Friday at the Unity ’08 Conference. Sponsored by the Asian American Journalists Association, the panel aims to raise awareness for reporters who cover Arab American issues.
In addition to Ms. Ghoneim, the panel will showcase reporter Tammy Audi of the Wall Street Journal’s Los Angeles bureau; Jeffrey Ghannam, an attorney and former reporter at the Detroit Free Press; Lara Setrakian, digital reporter in ABC News’ Dubai bureau; freelance journalist Sally Farhat Kassab (In Style, Parents, Natural Health); and reporter Tamer El-Ghobashy of the New York Daily News.
One goal of the panel is to give journalists insight into researching information about the Arab American community. Panelists also will address ways to find Arab American experts, improve accuracy in reporting and even attract a broader audience.
Finding an audience has always been a problem for Arab American journalists, Ms. Ghoneim said, because they also face biases from employers who feel they can only cover certain issues. “In Chicago,” she said, “a news director told my agent, ‘We don’t have many Middle Eastern people in Chicago, so we don’t need a Middle Eastern reporter.’ My agent said, ‘What about just needing a good reporter?’”
Ms. Ghoneim, who was born in the U.S., also holds Egyptian citizenship. She previously worked at the NBC affiliate WDIV-TV in Detroit, the city with the largest population of Arab Americans in the country.
Ms. Ghoneim said she felt “lucky to be there,” even though she found she had to “face some problems with colleagues” who felt she had been hired simply because she was of Middle Eastern descent. After a period of proving herself as a reporter, that burden eased somewhat—only to be replaced with another problem, this time from the very community she tried to serve.
“Culturally,” she said, “[television journalism] is not considered an appropriate profession for a woman to go into. My father will pay, right now, for me to go to law school instead.
“There are so many misconceptions about who Arab Americans are in this country. The onus is on journalists to dig below the surface. When I talk to American Arabs and people at Muslim organizations, they are very dissatisfied with how they’re portrayed in the media.”
Ms. Ghoneim said she believes both the media and the Arab American community could be better served if they took time to work with each other.
For members of the community, she said, “Part of the responsibility is to engage with the media, if they want to see better coverage.” And for journalists, she suggests “reaching out before you need someone on deadline—and not just going back to the same sources.”
Many of the sources journalists use again and again “tend to be Muslim men,” she said, noting that the idea of Muslim women in this country not being interested in talking to the press is part of a “barrage of stereotypes” that face Arab Americans.
There are several organizations, she pointed out, such as the Muslim Public Affairs Council, that will work with the entertainment and communications industries in an effort to ensure Arab Americans are accurately portrayed in film and television.
And although Arab Americans made headlines on Sept.11, Ms. Ghoneim said the feeling among many Americans that “all Arabs are terrorists” is not a new problem. “It’s a longstanding feeling about the Arab American community dating back to the ’70s. It was hijackers then,” she said. “But after Sept. 11, there are more hate crimes and many more reports of people being harassed.
“One of the things to understand about Arab American communities,” she said, “is that not all Arab Americans are Muslims. And not all Muslims feel it’s necessary to wear an abaya to be good. There are Arab Jews. There are even Arabs who have blond hair and green eyes.”

37 Comments

  1. was very useful thanks to contributors

  2. Wonderful to read!

  3. Thanks for your visiting this http://www.replicaseller.com online store.

  4. Thanks for your visiting this http://www.watchau.com online store.

  5. Thanks for your visiting this http://www.hello-free.com/freebies online store.

  6. Thank you for a great post

  7. In related news, Tiger Woods stars in a movie called “My Favorite 18 Holes.” It turns out it’s actually about golf.

  8. If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

  9. Thank God we have a common interest, thank you for sharing, you’re a good author. Hope to see more of your articles. Juno sincere.

  10. Appreciation pro this article. Present are categorically tips participating in at this juncture to I choice benefit.

  11. I’m thankful for this beneficial brilliant page; this could be the variety of subject that sustains me though out the day.We’ve often heard been not long ago looking close to inside your web-site ideal immediately after I noticed about these from a near good friend and was delighted when I was in a very placement to acquire it adhering to looking out for some time. Being a enthusiastic blogger, I’m happy to view other people today taking effort and including to the neighborhood. I just wanted to remark to demonstrate my comprehending for a upload because it is particularly inviting, and many writers do not get the credit score they have earned. I’m optimistic I’ll be back again once again and can send a couple of of my friends.

  12. Love the blog here. Nice colors. I am definitely staying tuned to this one. Hope to see more.

  13. Love all the opinions expressed here! How is everyone? Love how everyone expresses whatr they feel 🙂

  14. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.. 🙂

  15. This is the best blog I’ve ever seen in my life! I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to share your this with everyone.

  16. I really like the colors here on your blog. did you design this yourself or did you outsource it to a professional?

  17. Hello; Nice post for me. Your post has supporting. I want to has good posts like yours in my blog. How do you make these posts? And you have a problem about your template.You should fix your caseabout your template … I recently came across your blog and have been visitingalong. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Great blog. I will keep reading this website often.Good day…

  18. Keep focusing on your blog. I love how we can all express our feelings. This is an extremely nice blog here 🙂

  19. I agree with your thoughts here and I really love your blog! I’ve bookmarked it so that I can come back & read more in the future.

  20. Keep focusing on your blog. I love how we can all express our feelings. This is an extremely nice blog here 🙂

  21. Nice!! Great Ifo. Great People. Great Blog. Thank you for all the great sharing that is being done here.

  22. Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned 🙂

  23. I love the way you write and also the theme on your blog. Did you code this yourself or was it done by a professional? I’m very very impressed.

  24. This is the best blog I’ve ever seen in my life! I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to share your this with everyone.

  25. Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned 🙂

  26. Hey how are you doing? I just wanted to stop by and say that it’s been a pleasure reading your blog. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back & read more in the future as well. plz do keep up the quality writing

  27. This is the best blog I’ve ever seen in my life! I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to share your this with everyone.

  28. We are happy to invite you to submit yours sites to the internet directory.

  29. Hey how are you doing? I just wanted to stop by and say that it’s been a pleasure reading your blog. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back & read more in the future as well. plz do keep up the quality writing

  30. Way to focus and straight to your point, i love it. Keep up the work people. Dont let anyone stop us bloggers.

  31. I normally don’t respond lying on websites but you maintain some superior readable material.

  32. My fonts logo catches my focus just about every time I see it. That a single is very good. Incredibly great publish!

  33. Thanks for that l ist, the l ist will save me quite a bit of time.

  34. Thanks for furnishing precious information to the topic. Hold posting

  35. Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned 🙂

  36. Interesting thoughts here. I appreciate you taking the time to share them with us all. It’s people like you that make my day 🙂

  37. Love the blog here. Nice colors. I am definitely staying tuned to this one. Hope to see more.

Leave a Reply to New GHD Styler Cancel Reply

Email (will not be published)