By ILONA BRAY
You may have already seen or heard Sharif Abdel Kouddous’s reporting. Since 2003, he’s been a producer for Democracy Now!, an independent television and radio program that broadcasts on over 900 stations around the United States. He’s just starting an exciting new position with Democracy Now! as a foreign correspondent based in Cairo, Egypt.
How did you get interested in journalism?
“I tried investment banking, but hated it. I’ve always loved to write, and took a few classes. Plus, I became more politically aware in the aftermath of 9/11, with the crackdowns on Muslims and Arab Americans as well as the Bush administration’s run-up of the Iraq war. I started working at Democracy Now! the day after the U.S. invaded Iraq.”
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Figuring out which stories not to cover! So many things are happening daily around the world, and no one person’s struggle is more important than another’s.
What’s the best part of your job?
Making a difference in people’s lives, through exposing injustice or telling someone’s story. For example, after I interviewed a Palestinian astrophysicist living in Virginia, who described on air how his son had been killed when his family’s house in Gaza was hit by an Israeli missile, U.S. officials were moved to help get his family from Gaza to the United States.
What do you think of today’s U.S. news coverage?
The corporate media spends more time on celebrities like Lady Gaga than on real people and major issues—like the war in Afghanistan, which is claiming thousands of lives and depleting our treasury.
Any tips for kids interested in journalism?
It’s a satisfying career! I’ve traveled the world—Haiti, Iraq, New Orleans … Practice listening to people, there are millions of stories out there waiting to be told in an honest way.