Ask Hofstra journalism student, Fatima Moien, about her future career plans, she’ll tell you she will feel right at home reporting from the frontlines of crime-ridden areas and scarred battlegrounds.
Last month, far closer to home, New Hampshire became a political battleground, where presidential hopefuls clashed for their party’s nomination.
The Valley Stream resident joined three other Long Island radio journalism students, who help run the campus radio station, WRHU-FM, to cover the moment-by-moment happenings of the nation’s primary of the 2024 presidential election.
- Fatima Moien joined three other Long Island radio journalism students to cover the 2024 presidential primary election in New Hampshire for WRHU-FM radio.
- The political reporting program coordinated by John T. Mullen, offers students valuable opportunities for career development, professional networking, and hands-on reporting experience with radio journalists from across the country
- The Hofstra journalists sought to shine insight into the perspectives of young voters and address gaps in mainstream media coverage
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“Within a year, I’ve worked my way to report on serious news and dabbled in conversations around politics and community reporting,” said Moien, who was born in Pakistan. “So when I found out about the program, I very quickly asked permission to take a few days off from my internship, got permission, applied, was accepted, and was all set to go.”
The program, coordinated by John T. Mullen, offers students a rare chance to rub shoulders and schmooze with professional journalists. From a career-building standpoint, Mull noted it’s the kind of event that can jumpstart a career and debut one’s reporting chops.
Alumni of the program have gone on to have successful journalism jobs as television news personalities, news producers at big-name media outlets, and station directors.
On the educational end, it allows students to immerse themselves in the experience of sitting down with political pundits, attending rallies, and take part in boots on the ground reporting. It provides an opportunity for students to step out of their comfort zone as they embark on talking to New Hampshire students, voters, and practically anyone willing to talk politics anywhere, from inside diners to college campuses.
Moien, a graduate journalism student, was paired up with an eclectic crew of student journalists, each with their distinct skill, grade level, and reporting experience.
“It’s like picking a baseball team or football team,” said Mullen. “Not everybody is exactly alike. You want different strengths from different people because diversity of talent breeds excellence.”
All the students taking part are there because they’ve shown exceptional maturity, motivation, and instincts for assembling engaging stories or “audio packages,” which are then sent to the campus radio station for airing.
While in New Hampshire, the student journalists reported back to their home base at the DoubleTree hotel in downtown Manchester, the nucleus of the nation’s primary news media scene.
“They’re on radio row in the media filing center, alongside radio stations from all over the country,” said Mullen.
Talking about why audiences should tune into college student journalism, Mullen argued that “what our radio station provides to the community is what young people are thinking. And there’s enormous value to what young people think.”
As larger news outlets tend to zero in on things like political matchups and candidates’ winning odds, less is understood about what’s going on in the minds of young primary voters. This vacuum in reporting is what student journalists like Moien intend to fill and give a voice to.
Stopping at the Durham campus at the University of New Hampshire on Jan. 22, a day before classes resumed, Moien sought to gauge student’s anxieties and hopes over the country’s political future.
“Students were coming out of hibernation, unloading their cars, getting back into the swing of things, and we jumped in and asked them about how they were feeling about the primaries,” said Moien.
While some college kids were well-informed and well-read on current events, there was another strand almost at the other end of the spectrum that wanted nothing to do with politics. Those who gave reasons for apathy overwhelmingly felt a growing disconnect between the issues at the forefront of their minds and the issues taking center stage on the campaign trail by politicians from either party.
“Students are fed up,” said Moien. “It sounds like they’re tired. They’re worried about their student loan debt, climate change, and reproductive rights. There’s a housing crisis in New Hampshire and many seniors were worried about securing a job after graduation and if they could afford to live there.”
Moien, who has been reporting on Israel-Palestinian issues since 2021, also covered the write-in cease-fire campaign, where New Hampshire Democrats were encouraged to write “cease-fire” on their ballots in protest of President Joe Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
“It’s a historical time in our American timeline and I’m just very grateful to my radio station and my program for having this opportunity,” said Moien. “I’m very aware that there’s value in me being here and there’s a lot of give and take in this experience, for sure.”
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