The spirit and the most important part of democracy is the power it gives to people to elect their own leaders, to voice their opinions and to demand their rights from governments and leaders with no fear. Journalism plays a very important role in ensuring that the spirit of democracy is preserved, by being at the forefront of preservation of constitutionally enshrined rights and freedoms. This huge responsibility inspired and drove me into journalism, the one profession that plays the most significant role in empowering the public against dictators, tyrants, among other malevolent entities in possession of power.
It is my belief that, as the public loses sight of the high standards democratically elected governments are expected to keep to, the media should step up and not only keep the public up to date, but also do their own due diligence and bring the government of the day to task. Informing the public about government activities, both the good and the bad, is to me a very noble task that I must perform to the best of my ability. Information is a very potent tool that can start revolutions and bring about real change to countries and to the world when used well.
The regime in my native country, Iran, does not tolerate the free flow of information, even as corruption has taken root among the ruling class, with looting, scandals and misappropriation of funds becoming commonplace. With the government exercising absolute control over the media in the sense that no one can publish freely, there is little hope of the situation ever changing.
In true authoritarian fashion, those individuals who speak up against the corruption are often locked up on trumped up charges, the most common one being an accusation of jeopardizing national security. Reporters Without Borders have published recent articles showing that Iran is still one of the world’s most oppressive countries, with virtually nonexistent freedom of information. Meanwhile, journalists and other players in the media and information industry continue to be victimized by power struggles between various factions in the government.
Coming from such an oppressive background, I became aspired to study journalism to gain a deeper understanding of its ethics and standards with the aim of later creating awareness among my fellow citizens on what is going around them. A distinguished journalist who can work with no fear of the consequences of their actions, unimpressed by any political parties and not intimidated by authorities, is what I intend to be. I fully recognize that to bring about any meaningful change, it might be necessary to put my own life at risk, for the better of my country.
Just being another journalist is not enough for me, I intend to stand out and contribute to the overall purpose and mission of the profession, by pushing boundaries and going to new territories of journalism. The schooling experience is, to me, an important place where I can build up a portfolio, by taking part in activities related to journalism, such as workshops and seminars. I also hope to land a job interning for a distinguished media house, which will allow me to gain much-needed experience before venturing out into the world. Studying in an international institution of higher learning appears to me as the perfect opportunity to follow this path to journalistic excellence.
Previous education I have had was a diploma course in Natural Science at the Sadr Pre-University Center after high school. I advanced to the Islamic Azad University of Shiraz to study Plant Protection afterwards, headed to a career in botany. However, my interest in becoming a journalist, which I have been nursing all my life, took the better part of me, and I felt I needed to be out there following my dream. For this reason, I resolved to change my course and start with an English course to improve on both writing and verbal skills. It provided me with an opportunity to acquire skills that enhanced my flexibility to interact with different cultures, lifestyles, beliefs, and backgrounds. I also learned about significant aspects of independent working, time management and organization, planning and carrying out researching activities, just to mention but a few.
In this vein, I recently completed two distant-learning journalism-related courses, namely Introduction to Communication Science authorized by Amsterdam University, and English for Journalism offered by Pennsylvania University. Both courses were studied through the online learning platform, Coursera.
Recognizing the importance of the Internet in modern journalism, I have taken up an online specialization course titled Becoming a Journalist: Report The News! It is made up of five core courses authorized by Michigan State University. With this specialization, I stand a better chance to understand the global field of journalism and acquire the best practices and ethical standards for news gathering. The syllabus offers a broad range of units required in journalism, and that will equip me with sufficient knowledge to shape my future as a journalist. I plan to do my final Capstone project which guides students through the journalistic portfolio process involving conceptualizing, reporting, and completing a quality professional news report.
In terms of experience, I held a part-time position as an associate in public relations in Arasteh Charity, where I helped in drafting press releases and communicating to the public on behalf of the organization.
I would wish to obtain a slot in your institution to pursue Master’s Program in Journalism, which will launch my career in a way that will allow me to become a renowned journalist. I believe that I will be a meaningful addition to your program and the faculty. With a thirst for learning shown by my exemplary academic performance, I also look to building my experience both in learning an in practicing.