Roxana Saberi is currently working for Al Jazeera America as a producer and reporter based in New York City. In May 2013, Saberi participated in a panel held at the GlobalPost in Boston to raise awareness for fellow Medill graduate Jim Foley, who was abducted in Syria in November 2012. Saberi herself was imprisoned in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, and when she was released, she wrote a book about her experience. "Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran," which was published by HarperCollins in April 2010.
While in captivity, Saberi learned the value of the freedom of doing the smallest things that we often take for granted—making a phone call, walking outside, reading a book, using the restroom whenever you want. And I appreciate basic human rights, such as the freedom of expression, more than ever before. I think my imprisonment also changed my perspective on things I value. I’ve always valued my family, but I value them even more than before. On the other hand, certain things I was stressing out about before, I realized were not really that important. It’s my loved ones, my family and my good friends who really matter in life. I realized that time is limited with the people we love and I now try to value every moment.
Saberi adds that her imprisonment changed the way she views the media. “It made me realize the power of the media,” she explained. “I believe the media coverage of my case played a significant role in pushing the Iranian authorities to release me. After I was freed, I saw what it was like to be on the other side of the camera or the microphone, so it’s been a new experience for me.”
For fellow journalists and Medill grads who are grappling with the evolving media landscape, Saberi recommends following your heart.
“Everybody says it, but it’s hard to do a lot of times,” she said. “But I think most people know what their heart tells them. For the journalists who want to go overseas and try something new, I think that’s a wonderful opportunity for people to discover themselves and also to discover a new culture, a new country, and to share what they learn with other people. I think I’ve been really lucky in my career to meet supportive people who have given me the chance to experience new things—starting in undergraduate college and then through the different internships I did and the various places I worked. I realize through all of that the importance of having mentors and veteran journalists to help guide and give new opportunities to journalists who are in the early stages of their careers.”
Saberi is currently working on a her second book about Iran.