RIYADH: Arab News, the Middle East’s leading English-language daily, and the Misk Foundation, a non-profit organization that empowers Saudi youth in bringing to life a three-week intensive internship program, partnered to provide a unique hands-on training and mentorship program for young Saudi graduates pursuing journalism.
“It was a pleasure welcoming some of the Kingdom’s most promising media practitioners of tomorrow, and working closely with the Misk Foundation on this important partnership and training program,” said Faisal J.Abbas, editor-in-chief of Arab News.
Eight interns were shortlisted by Arab News editors for the journalism internship program through the foundation.
“Misk Skills is thrilled to collaborate with Arab News to provide Saudi youth with a great time of change, challenge, and excitement,” said Ghadeer Hamati, a consultant at the Misk Foundation.
Hanin Alblwi, an enrolled intern in the program and law graduate, highlighted her experience: “This internship paved the way for me to understand the journalism industry and how it works. I really love writing and I want to be a freelance writer.”
She shared in the first week that she didn’t know how to create a story from a news idea. She explained how amazed she was at how easily she was able to compete for a story in the second week of the program.
“The next week I just wrote the news easily, when you know the principles you can easily take it and apply it,” she explained.
“I highly recommend this program to everyone who wants to be a journalist,” she said.
Participants were personally coached by Arab News’ team of experienced and award-winning senior editors and department heads from the Arab News headquarters in Riyadh and its bureaus in Dubai, London, France and Pakistan.
“This internship was a great opportunity for an aspiring writer who wants to learn about this growing field. My experience with Arab News allowed me to learn about journalism from very passionate journalists and leaders at Arab News,” said Amal Alshehry, an intern and a master’s degree holder in English language.
The interns were also able to sit down with the Arab News editor-in-chief to gain insight into the world of journalism.
“The meeting with the editor-in-chief was a life lesson for me. He has inspired us to work and succeed in journalism, and to find passion in whatever we choose to do in life,” said Alshehry.
“I encourage fresh graduates to join this internship because the community here is amazing. I have learned a lot from other colleagues and the instructors,” said Thekra Altamimi, another intern.
The enrolled interns also went on the ground and conducted interviews with attendees of the JAX Art Festival in Riyadh while being guided by some of the newspaper’s most seasoned reporters.
“With no exaggeration, it was one of the best experiences in my life. I enjoyed interviewing people and experiencing it all as a journalist,” said Altamimi.
The partnership was initially struck in 2019 with the first group of students entering the training program. The program was put on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic, but picked right back up in 2021 through a virtual internship program. This year’s installment, the third cohort, was conducted in a hybrid format.
Interns learned about the methods of covering a wide range of topics from regional and global issues through some of the most experienced correspondents at Arab News across the business, lifestyle, politics, local and regional news desks.
“I learned the fundamentals and elements of journalism, and communication, teamwork, and how to write about daily things in our life but to see them from a different perspective,” said Mohammed Almarri, an intern.
Students gained a wider understanding of the basics of news writing, editing, media ethics, fact-checking and ways to strengthen their reporting skills through the power of observation and new story structures.
“I studied journalism and it’s my passion. I love to write and I am so happy to be a part of this program. I hope to pursue journalism as a career, it’s been my dream job forever,” said Alya Allam, an intern in the program.
The internship ran for three weeks through a hybrid teaching program of in-person and online courses. The internship began on July 17 and continued until Aug. 7 in the Arab News headquarters in Riyadh.