Jabarti inspires aspiring female media students at WAN-IFRA
By Shahed Khalid
DUBAI — During the WAN-IFRA 11th Middle East Conference hosted by Al Bayan at Intercontinental Dubai, I was given the great opportunity of speaking with the Editor and Chief of Saudi Gazette, Somaya Jabarti.
After waiting for the crowd of people around her to slowly disappear, I took my chance and introduced myself. Our conversation went from speaking about the news published in Saudi papers to the news about the personal challenges that we face in our lives.
It’s a no-brainer that she’s an extraordinary human being. Her accomplishments and success speak for themselves. However, what really amazed me was how passionate she was about speaking throughout our entire conversation. For the fifteen minutes that we spoke, the fire in her eyes did not fade out one bit.
According to Jabarti, contrary to popular belief, news in Saudi is able to be published much easier than expected. The integrity of a story is not put to rest if a newspaper does not want to publish it. Instead, the individual who wrote the story simply publishes it online and receives critical and helpful feedback on their issue.
Our conversation then took a turn to how women always need to work a dozen times harder just to prove that they belong in a newsroom. None of this surprised me, of course, but being able to hear about her transition from a newsroom in Saudi to the streets of Egypt, witnessing history as Mubarak stepped down as president, was really quite a story to listen to. She would’ve never gotten where she is today had it not been for the endless support she received from her boss and from her husband.
This personally gave me the small push I needed to always bear in mind that there is always more in terms of doing, and seeing, and receiving.