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Story | Education
8 June 2021

NU-Q graduate’s aim is to demystify media perceptions of the Middle East

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Image source: Rawpixel_com, via Shutterstock

Maryam Al-Bader, from the class of ’21 at the QF partner university, talks about studying journalism and how her degree is relevant to today’s world

Now more than ever, media channels are having a huge impact on shaping the world we live in. The increasing levels of disinformation, manipulation and fake news have made it extremely importance for us to have a deeper understanding of how media works and how it can affect us.

Maryam Al-Bader, a graduate of the Class 2021 from Northwestern University in Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner university.

This is why Maryam Al-Bader, a graduate of the Class 2021 from Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q), a Qatar Foundation (QF) partner university, chose journalism as her field of study and as her future career path.

“When I look at all the events that are happening in the world now and especially in the Middle East, I feel my studies at NU-Q is highly relevant,” says Al-Bader. “In today’s time, journalism is a very important degree. Every journalist is able to bring their own unique perspective to the conversation.

Disinformation is all around us, and we need to learn the mechanics of why people say certain things, and how news coverage is shaped

Maryam Al-Bader

“Disinformation is all around us, and we need to learn the mechanics of why people say certain things, and how news coverage is shaped. My aim is to demystify many of the misconceptions that the media has on the Middle East, and when I bring my voice from here, I can reach a wider audience with the right terminology and facts, and be able rewrite the narrative that the western media has.”

Al-Bader’s decision to specialize in journalism was not easy. She describes herself as a very “indecisive” person, and that made it difficult for her to know what she wanted to study. But that changed after she attended Qatar Foundation’s Academic Bridge Program (ABP) – a pre-university foundation program designed for high school graduates – where she experienced a cross registration program and was introduced to journalism in an introductory course, and realized that it was what she was looking for.

In journalism, you have the chance to explore everything. You study politics, history, and much more

Maryam Al-Bader

“I was very indecisive in what I wanted to study because I didn’t want to limit myself in any way shape or form. With ABP I was able to experience NU-Q and journalism first-hand. It was eye-opening because I thought of journalism as an old-fashioned tool for writing, and wasn’t aware of how diverse it is.

“In journalism, you have the chance to explore everything. You study politics, history, and much more, and every once in a while you become an expert on something,” she explained.

According to Al-Bader, one of her biggest achievements during her time as a student at QF was when she was awarded a year-long Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism, sponsored by the Carter Center and QF’s World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), which trains journalists about reporting on mental health related issues.

I had the chance to travel to the US with my colleague, where I explored a lot about mental health journalism, and how to report about it

Maryam Al-Bader

I had the chance to travel to the US with my colleague, where I explored a lot about mental health journalism and how to report about it. I was very lucky to have this opportunity. It is such a prestigious award and I am very honored for this achievement.

“The environment that QF offers is very unique, you get to meet people from all around the world, build connections, network and find opportunities.

“I look forward to completing my studies, continuing advocating for mental health and writing about it. I don’t know where life will take me, but I really hope that I can inspire people with my words and actions, and anything that I put out,” Al-Bader said.

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