Zahra Rasool, the Head of Al Jazeera’s Contrast VR, was galvanized in her career by a World Federation Higher Education loan.
Zahra was studying at The Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri in the United States when she heard about an exchange program with the University of Westminster in London.
She approached The World Federation for the Higher Education Loan and spent five months in the UK studying TV Production.
Passion and drive
“I really wanted to experience studying in London and was excited and enjoyed the course,” she says. “My main passion and drive was always to be involved in media. This course gave me that stepping stone to gain a grasp of the media landscape in the UK. Understanding the key differences in media in the US and Europe was key for me.”
Now based in New York, she gave a well received and impassioned keynote speech at the Alternate Realities Summit 2018 in Sheffield, UK. Her topics was the path to Authentic Storytelling through Diversity and Collaboration, and she explains:
“My speech resonates with authenticity. Often our stories are not heard, or even if heard they are mis-communicated. The purpose of my speech is to be able to tell my story. The importance of it, the authenticity of it and the truth of it to everyone involved in it.”
New ways of storytelling
As Head of Contrast at Al-Jazeera she is involved in in-house innovations with a mandate to look at emerging tech to find new ways of storytelling. “I would love to be able to push the boundaries of what immersive, what emerging tech and powerful storytelling combined can achieve,” she says.
Her advice for young people seeking a career in media is to study hard and see the world.
“Focus on your education, I don’t think that there is a substitute to getting the best education you possibly can and travelling,” Zahra says.
“The knowledge and the exposure you get when you meet people from different parts of the world from different cultures is something that’s invaluable and I think especially if you’re in the media, it’s important to have those diverse views and experiences.”
View Zahra’s authentic storytelling speech here