Reporting from the heart of Iraq's deadly protests

Pesha Magid became the trusted voice from Baghdad for many of the world’s broadcasters and newspapers after an outbreak of anti-government protests in 2019.

Working as a freelancer, Pesha Magid spent months on the streets providing coverage for international news organisations unable to send their own journalists to the city.

Before taking part in Thomson Foundation's 2016 summer course in London– where participants undergo a month's intensive practical training, followed by a week's work placement at a leading UK news organisation – she saw herself primarily as a print journalist who had "just experimented" with different media formats.

But all that changed when the foundation's summer course helped her develop her multimedia skills – with mobile journalism (mojo) a major highlight.

"The course gave me the confidence to branch out into other types of media and experiment with the way I tell stories," she says.

It was pivotal to the work she did from Baghdad, making videos and reporting live on the French news channel, France 24, as well as the US network, PBS.

Other organisations that she's worked for include The Independent and Sunday Times in the UK, and The National in the UAE.




Pesha was selected to attend the summer course by her then editor at Mada Masr, an independent Egyptian news website.

The media outlet had been given funding by Index on Censorship, a London-based organisation campaigning for freedom of expression, and Open Society Foundations, an international grantmaking network, to send a journalist who would transfer their skills to other journalists.

She was able to share what she had learned about creating good quality video content to help encourage colleagues in Egypt to think differently about storytelling.

Pesha also values how the course gave her the opportunity to connect with journalists from around the globe.

"Being able to sit, talk and learn from them is something I'll always be grateful for," she says.

"I really deeply appreciated everything I learned on the Thomson Foundation summer course and can thank it for helping launch me to where I am today," she continues.

Pesha has been reporting in the Middle East since 2012, covering a wide variety of stories including the intensive 28-day campaign of civil resistance, as part of the Arab Spring in Tunisia, to gender, politics, culture, as well as business and economics in Turkey.


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