Esperance Ghanem on why she writes

Al-Monitor contributor Esperance Ghanem shares her thoughts on journalism.

al-monitor A forensic analyst and Lebanese soldiers work at the site of an explosion in the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital, Beirut, June 24, 2014. Photo by REUTERS/Sharif Karim.

Topics covered

women’s rights, women in the workforce, women in society, women's issues, media in the arab world, lebanon, lebanese society, journalism

Mar 10, 2015

Esperance Ghanem, a news anchor on Lebanese channel OTV, has been writing for Al-Monitor since August 2014. She previously worked as a newspaper and TV reporter, a correspondent in the Lebanese presidential palace and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as editor for the UN section of Al-Balad newspaper.

Al-Monitor:  Why did you decide to become a journalist?

Ghanem:  When I was 15 years old and started thinking of the career I want to pursue — and though my father was encouraging me to become an architect like him and my mother a lawyer like her — all I knew was that I don’t want an “office job” that makes me sit at a desk all day long, and that I like the kind of job that keeps me away from routine and requires continuous dealings and relationships with people. Besides, I had a tiny experience of journalism when I worked on my school magazine, which made me more convinced that this is the job that I want.

Al-Monitor:  Did you have female role models to look up to when you were first starting out? Who?

Ghanem:  No, not really.

Al-Monitor:  It seems that there are more and more women covering the news out of the Middle East. What do you think is contributing to that trend? What changes have you noticed in your career?

Ghanem:  If there are more and more women covering the news in the Middle East, this is because they are not being discriminated against intentionally, or not as before, when they were labeled too weak and fragile. As for the changes I have noticed in my career, I think that the social media platforms that have invaded the world have also massively improved journalism. Thanks to this trend, and while it helps disseminate information easily and globally, it motivates me [to aim for] for a better performance, as it holds me accountable.

Al-Monitor:  What is the most memorable moment (good or bad) that you’ve had while covering a story?

Ghanem:  I had several memorable moments during my work as a news reporter before becoming a news anchor. I’ll never forget covering the assassination of the martyr Capt. Wissam Eid, when I arrived to the site a few minutes after the car bombing that killed him and four citizens and saw pieces of human flesh and blood everywhere.

Neither can I forget covering the funeral of martyr Gen. Francois el Hajj, who was also assassinated in 2007. I was at his home with his family. Those were very hard, touching and emotional hours that I will never forget.

Al-Monitor:  If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring journalist, what would that be?

Ghanem:  Good journalism is all about honesty and credibility. It is being able to tell a story well and with accuracy. It is about excellent research and new ways to capture events and news. It is also about double-checking sources and tips, and making it always 100% correct before jumping mistakenly on an erroneous scoop. It is about not being obsessed by a scoop, no matter how important it is, at the expense of credibility.

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