With Hard Work and Help from Internews, a Palestinian Journalist Scores Big

two women in head scarves sit together talking
Taghreed Emoor (right) has dreamed of being an international sports anchor since childhood. (credit: Internews)

Taghreed Emoor has had a dream since childhood. “I’ve always wanted to be an international sports anchor,” she told Internews in a recent interview. “My entire family is passionate about sport. My brother is even a soccer player on the Palestinian national team!”

The odds were against this young Palestinian woman: competition for radio reporting jobs is fierce, and Gaza has very few female sports anchors. Yet she was determined.

When she started high school, Taghreed signed up to participate in the morning announcements, writing up and reading daily reports to the school. After graduation, she pursued reporting at a local college, and went on to get her associates degree in journalism and public relations.

Soon after, Taghreed landed a job with Alwan Radio, a network of independent radio stations broadcast throughout Gaza. As she moved up the ranks to become a reporter with the daily program Morning Panorama, she wanted to strengthen the quality of her work, so in 2010 she signed up for the first radio internship program that Internews held in Gaza.

Over the course of the nine-month long training, Taghreed learned how to improve her radio production and reporting skills.

“My trainings with Internews taught me how to interact with my daily morning audience, to understand their needs, to search for things they would like to hear early in the morning,” she said. “I was given advice to enrich my program, to make it bright, even, catchy, and light, and at the same time, to be easy, just like someone sitting in a beautiful garden in the morning, drinking his favorite drink.”

Taghreed also participated in a new media class. “The training made me aware of the importance of following up with the audience, tweets, comments, everything,” she said. “I learned that we should follow the daily social media updates to understand the listeners, their interests, problems and concerns. I use social media every day to look for a new story to write about and report on.”

After the training ended, Taghreed continued to work at Alwan Radio, where she used her new skills to improve Morning Panorama. Then a position opened up at Alwan Sports Radio, a job she had dreamed of since she was young.

“When I heard about the opening at Alwan Sports Radio I was so excited. I fought hard to get where I was [at Morning Panorama], and I knew that I would have a huge challenge in store for me getting the position in sports.”

Her skill and hard work paid off. Taghreed is now the Program Manager at Alwan Sports Radio, one of the few female sports reporters in Gaza. Since arriving at the channel, she has championed many innovations and programming ideas for the station.

Taghreed was recently chosen by Al Jazeera Sports to receive an in-depth training in sports reporting. The program has yet to take place due to difficulties for the trainers to get into Gaza for classes, but Taghreed remains hopeful. She said, “My ambition goes beyond Palestine!”

Since Internews’ USAID-funded project, Enhancing Palestinian Independent Media, began in 2010, Internews has offered many different training and support programs for aspiring and seasoned journalists throughout the Palestinian Territories. Trainings in Gaza are especially important, as media workers there face a unique set of challenges due to frequent power outages, occasional air strikes and extensive travel restrictions.