Samah Samad | Institute for War and Peace Reporting
I was born in Kirkuk on February 1, 1981 and completed primary school and university there. I come from an educated family and have three sisters and four brothers.
After the removal of Saddam in 2003 and my graduation from university I started to work as a journalist. My father used to work in the ministry of media during the Saddam era, and liked the press very much. He was killed in a insurgent bombing in 2004 in Kirkuk. His death prompted me to work harder and be faithful to his passion.
Before 2003, I did not have the chance to fulfil myself, as the Baath regime didn’t let free-thinkers and non-Baathists work in the media. But after Saddam fell, and due to encouragement from my dad, I started to cover the news in Kirkuk and work in the media. I began my career in a local Arabic newspaper in the city, and then joined a radio station as a reporter. What is painful for me is that my dad didn’t live to see me become a proper journalist and see his dream come true.
I have worked for IWPR since 2004, and most of what I now know about journalism I gained from its training sessions. I became familiar with its international journalism standards and have been grateful for the encouragement to do more to improve myself as a reporter. I have published many IWPR reports and most of them resonate among the people of my city. I have received many messages of appreciation for my work.
Through IWPR, I have also found myself in contact with many of the foreign press and with think-tanks and other institutes. In fact, I have been contacted by many people from abroad and asked for help in their research on Kirkuk. So IWPR became for me a bridge between Iraqis and the West.
My work with IWPR has been full of experiences. It hasn’t just been about how to write stories. I’ve learnt how to operate as a journalist and about the relationship between the editor and the reporter.
I am proud of all of my reports for IWPR because all were appreciated by both readers and my editors. Most of them were also republished by local and international media. My favourites include one on those girls who were forced to leave school because of their parents concerns over militia violence, Girls Denied Education.
Journalism is a humanistic profession. When I see the eyes of poor people who expect me to be their voice and solve their problems, I realise how very great this job is.