In conversation with... Asyia Iftikhar, Founder of the Young Journalist Community
Can you tell me a little bit about The Young Journalist Community?
The Young Journalist Community (YJC) is a group of like-minded people who are trying to enter the media industry. We all give each other advice, we ask questions – it’s a really supportive and wholesome community. You can share your work too. It’s something that I felt was missing from the world of media; a supportive group to help people who are entering. I feel like the Young Journalist Community is definitely that.
How did the yjc it start?
At first, I put a tweet out talking about creating a Twitter chat and it didn’t get a good response so I thought: “Oh, maybe nobody wants to do this?” Then at the beginning of lockdown, I tweeted again and that’s when suddenly lots of people were really into it.
Who are your heroes, both journalism wise and generally?
I’m going to be very cheesy here and say generally my hero is my mum. But in the media world the people I really look up to are Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff from gal-dem and Owen Jones. I used to read his work especially when I was younger, he was one of the journalists that I properly started following. Aditya Chakraborrty is also one of my favourite journalists. For my parents, every time Mishal Hussain comes on the television they are like: “We want you to be her one day!”
How does it feel to start a community that gained so much traction in such little time?
It’s a bit surreal – I genuinely wasn’t expecting it to grow in the way it has but now that it has grown it makes sense. There are so many people who are trying to find a support system. In the beginning, I was very overwhelmed and I emailed organisations asking for their help. PressPad especially have been so helpful. Now I have settled into a rhythm and I am a very involved admin!
How has the partnership with PressPad helped you?
The YJC started producing these really helpful documents and it became very difficult to organise things on a Facebook group in a way that is accessible for all people. I knew I wanted to start a page where I could store of this information but starting a website involves cost and upkeep. That’s where PressPad came in and gave me a helping hand – supporting the page and building the treasure trove for young journalists to find all the useful things.
What is your journalism journey?
I live in a very political family and we all have opinions that we are passionate about so I naturally developed lots of opinions. I felt the best way to get these opinions out was to write them and I loved writing so it felt natural that they would come together in the form of journalism. Every year my school did a magazine so I worked on that and I enjoyed it so much I decided that this was what I wanted to do – be busy and work on articles. Then when I went to university I got involved in student media and I began writing more and I learnt so much about the media world. It’s quite rare in a career that you can start pursuing it as soon as you start thinking about it. For the past year, I’ve been doing more freelance work and I have been getting more familiar with the media outlets that I want to work with in the future.
What do you see for the future of the YJC?
Hopefully, we will be able to do more as we grow more and do more partnerships. As well as creating more resources, we also want to create opportunities for people. The long term goal I see is the YJC being a place where people can get that experience and opportunities. The short term goal is to continue what we are doing; grow and share advice
You can join the Young Journalist Community here