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Ask Sara 1 — Building Early An Career & Portfolio


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/11/04

Sara Al Iraqiya is a USA-based 2nd generation Iraqi-American social scientist, writer, producer, and activist. Raised under Sunni Islam and a survivor of attempted radicalization in American mosques and centers — she has both lived experience as well as academic experience with Islam. Sara aims to educate her fellow lovers of Western civilization on the horrors, inequalities, and injustices that occur in geographically Western mosques and Islamic centers. Sara has been published in two languages (and counting). A world traveler, she briefly lived in France, Jordan, and even Cuba in order to complete her Masters of Arts in Global Affairs specializing in Global Culture and Society. Sara Al Iraqiya’s has been published in Conatus News and Spain’s ALDE Group. She has also been featured on CRTV and Compound Media.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: You work at some prominent media outlets. When working in a more prominent publication, and building an early career portfolio, how can a person, whether older or younger but still early career, systematically construct a publication portfolio?

Sara Al Iraqiya: Write up a “pitch,” watermark it accordingly, and send out your pitches to whoever will read them. Be a loud mouth — talk to people. In the past, perhaps the advice was “slow and steady wins the race.”

Today, that is outdated advice. The faster you can move up, the faster you should move up. Accept any and all internships in relation to writing or whatever your media or journalistic endeavour may be.

I think a lot of young people overlook internships, especially when they are unpaid, but it helps to look at them as educational. An unpaid internship plus a paying job is not unlike working and going to school. Yes, it is difficult, but you will eventually be rewarded for your efforts.

Jacobsen: Many of the outlets you produce with work in a larger team. How is working with a larger team at a moderately prominent publication giving a better experience in not only a cooperative asynchronous electronic environment but also seeing different backgrounds, skill sets, and ability and talent levels in action?

Al Iraqiya: The role of the internet in the way we communicate, in my experience, is a wonderful thing. One can work remotely for example with a large, global cooperative but can easily connect via social media platforms. I did this with Conatus News.

And, of course, because it is a global team you will hear from many, as you say asynchronous voices as bias is always present and it is largely shaped by our environment.

From a logistical perspective, people are publishing different things all of the time, you need to be comfortable working with different time zones, patience is a virtue, lots of trial and error.

This is why I cannot recommend internships enough. It is also imperative to keep up with your fellow writers! Why?

Because it is fun and everyone wins. You may disagree with your peers, agree with them, though you disagreed with them but they opened your eyes to new possibilities, and perhaps you return that favour. It is all highly rewarding.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Sara.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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