Q. What do you do for Consider This?
A. Well, I am the social media producer, by title, for Consider This, and that means throughout the day, once we've picked our topics for the show, we're sending out information, articles related to the topics for the show, and also asking our audience to participate in the upcoming conversation. So we ask them for questions and comments that can be included as part of the conversation.
We also feature a digital story of the day where we highlight a unique story from Al Jazeera America’s website. I select and produce that story.
Another thing we’re working on right now is building partnerships with different organizations or publications that have a very specific demographic and starting a dialogue with that demo that eventually makes air. It’s the best way to bypass some of the noise that’s on social media and get to the heart of what really matters to people.
It’s a new network and a new show so we want to try new things. It’s challenging, but it’s also very exciting.
Q. What made you decide to pursue journalism?
A. I came from pretty humble beginnings and I know there are so many stories that are never told and may never see the light of day, but I want to be a part of getting those stories told and I think through telling the truth and telling personal stories, you can do a lot of good in the world.
Q. Tell me more about your background.
A. I am an Ethiopian-American. Actually, I just recently became a citizen. I was born in Ethiopia — that's in East Africa — and I came here when I was seven years old. … I've lived in a few different states. I lived in Mississippi, Tennessee, Massachusetts, California, and then now, New York, and I love it, actually. I think that just being around people from different backgrounds has really enriched my life, my personality, [and] my perspective on life.
Q. What brought you to this point in your career?
A. In many ways, just one thing led to another. Right before I graduated from Emerson College in Boston with a broadcast journalism degree, I did my last semester in Los Angeles. I did a program — a broadcasting program — and part of that was doing an internship. And through connections I got an internship at Entertainment Tonight where I met great people that actually led me to the job after that at CBS, producing for [Judge Joe Brown]. … I learned a lot about TV, about production, and I met so many great people from news, from all kinds of different backgrounds. … The producer I worked with at CBS also moved on to [The Young Turks on] Current TV. [Current] later became Al Jazeera America, of course, so that's basically how it happened. Meeting good people, them recognizing my good work, and just me being proactive in looking into opportunities as they came.
Q. What types of stories do you want to tell? What excites you about journalism?
A. I think there are stories, not just [in] America, but all over the world, … where people are living [these] really private, difficult, lives that most of us who are fortunate have no idea about. … I think telling stories is just a part of it, but once you do tell these people's stories, you're also empowering others to help them, you're also empowering those people who are the subject of those stories to reach out for help and to help themselves. And I think there is a lot of injustice in the world. I think that's the most obvious statement to make, and the injustice flourishes if these stories are never told.
Q. What's your favorite story that you've covered so far for Consider This?
A. I like when we do stories about poverty. I like when we do stories about income inequality, stories about our health care system in the United States, mostly because these things affect people directly. Now, not to say stories about Syria and Iran don't, but [these types of domestic stories are] a lot more tangible, our audience seems to care about them, they have personal experiences related to the topics, and as a social media producer, although we do get questions about international news, I like to do stories where people are asking questions that directly impact them.
Q. Is there anything else you would like to add?
A. The one thing that I would like to add is to stress the importance of being involved in the conversations that are happening on shows like Consider This, especially if the show is open to it. … The only way the conversation changes or the only way that you as an audience member get to be involved, is if you put that out there.