On October 29, INMA and Google News Initiative (GNI) awarded 50 news media professionals around the world with its debut Elevate Scholarship. This series features these impressive media professionals who are shaping our industry.
Kashmala Fida’s first position in journalism was a three-week contract to work at CBC New Brunswick, a local arm of Canada’s national public broadcaster. There, she was a general assignment reporter covering everything from city hall and breaking news to education and entertainment. When the contract came to an end, the executive producer asked her stay on for another month. And then another.
“A year later, I left CBC to go back to Halifax,” she said. Fida began freelancing for Metro Halifax and ended up being hired by Metro Edmonton to cover city hall as well.
As a natural storyteller, Fida has found an easy fit in journalism, whether it’s writing online articles, long-form TV or radio segments, or short-form stories.
“I love meeting new people and listening to their stories,” she explained. “And I'm very good at finding the right people.”
Currently, as a digital producer at CBC Edmonton AM, she writes stories for the digital platform of the morning current affairs show and also handles social media for the programme. She has built a strong set of skills and learned a lot about the nuances of reporting in a short time by making the most of her diverse opportunities. Her experience also allows her to approach stories from different viewpoints.
“As a reporter, I always try to bring in outside perspectives to news stories,” she said. “I have always reached out to communities outside the mainstream to make sure that their stories are told as well.”
She hopes to see that same kind of diverse perspective within the newsroom. As a Pakistani and a Muslim, she is often asked questions “about everything to do with Islam and everything to do with India and Pakistan.” Fida said the challenge is that Muslims from other countries may have different experiences, and she looks forward to the day when she’ll see more faces like her own in the newsroom.
“I feel very strongly about the makeup of newsrooms in Canada and how they lack representation from the very communities they are serving,” she said.
And, when she reaches her goal of rising to a leadership position within the newsroom, she will play an active role in changing that.
“I will make sure the newsroom represents equally the communities they are in,” Fida said. “That’s the best way to tell nuanced stories from every perspective.”