The Iranian Women in American Journalism (IWAJ)

The Iranian Women in American Journalism (IWAJ)

Iranian Women in American Journalism was a project by Reza Akhlaghi that was originally published in Foreign Policy Association Blogs 

New York, NY –  The year was 1979. The U.S. had severed diplomatic ties with Iran, a country engulfed in socio-political turmoil that replaced 2,500 years of Persian monarchy with a theocratic, Islamic state .  An entirely new Middle East emerged, and the turmoil led to the largest exodus of Iranians to the West — the United States and Canada being the primary destinations.

More than 30 years on, one sees a vibrant generation of Iranian professionals in all facets of American society.  Of particular note, however, is the rising number of Iranian and Iranian-American women in the U.S. news media.  They are award-winning foreign correspondents. They produce cutting- edge news and cultural programming; they cover the U.S. Congress in 140 characters or less via Twitter; they are social media innovators, executive editors and digital media mavens.

Beginning in mid-May until late-August 2012, Foreign Policy Association Senior Blogger and Editor Reza Akhlaghi introduced some of the most accomplished Iranian female journalists in the American media through a series of interviews.  Seasoned writers and reporters like Nazila Fathi, Davar Ardalan, Kelly Niknejad, and Farnaz Fassihi, as well as emerging media figures like Neda Semnani and Elahe Izadi, shared with Reza Akhlaghi their challenging experiences in journalism and rich stories about their ancestry in Iran.

Participants were as follows:

  • Davar Ardalan, Senior Producer, NPR News
  • Nazila Fathi, former New York Times Tehran correspondent and fellow, Neiman Foundation, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government
  •  Scheherezade Faramarzi, Former AP Middle East correspondent
  •  Azadeh Moaveni, author and former Middle East correspondent, Time Magazine and the Los Angeles Times
  • Asieh Namdar, Senior Writer, Copy Editor, HLN (formerly Headline News) and former anchor at CNN International
  • Farnaz Fassihi, Senior Staff Writer and Editor Middle East Bureau, Wall Street Journal
  •  Kelly Golnoush Niknejad, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Tehran Bureau, PBS
  •  Setareh Derakhshesh, Executive Editor and Anchor, Voice of America
  •  Sudy Samandari, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Zan Magazine
  •  Neda Semnani, Capitol Hill reporter, Roll Call and former deputy editor at CQ-Roll
  •  Elahe Izadi,  National Journal correspondent, former senior reporter for DCentric on NPR
  • Lisa Daftari– Writer and Commentator for various media outlets including Fox News, Wall Street Journal, NPR, and Newsmax Magazine
  •  Tala Dowlatshahi:  Senior Advisor and board member at the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB), senior advisor for Reporters Without Borders
  • Golnaz Esfandiari: Senior Correspondent at RFE/RL’s Central Newsroom and editor of the ‘Persian Letters’ blog

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