In December 2022, INMA and Google News Initiative (GNI) awarded their third annual Elevate Scholarship to 50 news media professionals from 31 countries. This series features these impressive media professionals who are shaping our industry.
Noor Hafez, project manager/partner events for the Financial Times in the U.K., started her career in conference production at a media company. After two years, Hafez wanted to continue working in media and publishing but wanted to explore different aspects and roles in a media business.
“It was through News School, a similar initiative to the INMA scholarship, that I got my start at the FT,” she said. The two-week programme was designed to educate people from underrepresented backgrounds about the various sections of a media business and included a video project that was showcased during the virtual graduation. That project caught the attention of a manager at FT and led to a new job.
“I have been there for almost two years now, taking every opportunity to learn more about the business and the industry more widely,” Hafez said.
Hafez aspires to create opportunities for others and be a mentor and a source of advice, support, and creativity for those around her: “I also want to be (and believe I already am) a helpful resource for anyone looking to work for my organisation or in this news industry,” Hafez said.
Through the Elevate Scholarship, Hafez would like to build on the knowledge she’s acquired through News School and her two years at the FT to learn more about all areas of the news business and how she can create change from within.
“I’d also like to connect with others at a similar level to me in their career and share our experiences and tips for navigating careers, progression and growth,” Hafez said. “I think the networking opportunities would also be very valuable for me to think more about the direction of my career and how to achieve the next steps.”
One way Hafez contributes to the industry’s inclusiveness is by encouraging openness and discussions. Conversations about progression, salaries, and jobs are a way to create increased transparency for everyone — especially for underrepresented groups who are hurt the most by not having these conversations.
She said the same applies to conversations about working conditions and attention to diversity and inclusion: “By not talking and sharing experiences, there aren’t benchmarks of what it means to work in an inclusive, supportive workplace. This could mean underrepresented groups might put up with unhealthy work environments for longer than they should.”