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Sara Shouhayib (MSJ15)

Morning News Anchor for Eyewitness News KBAK/KBFX

sara-shouhayib150x150.jpgAs a morning news anchor, Sara Shouhayib (MSJ15) does much more than read a teleprompter. From pitching stories to editing scripts to producing her own weekly health show, Shouhayib stays busy and enjoys what she does. She gives a lot of credit to Medill, where she was able to hone her skills and get on track to where she wanted to go in her career.

Her love for journalism was sparked when she did the morning announcements in elementary school. She then went on to work for her high school newspaper, college newspaper and campus TV station at the University of Michigan. Since then, she’s moved her way up to being an anchor and can now be seen every morning on Eyewitness News KBAK/KBFX in Bakersfield, California.

Tell me about your career path. How did you get where you are today?

Between undergrad and Medill, I worked at Bloomfield Community Television part-time as a community reporter and sideline sports reporter for high school games in the area of Michigan where I grew up. After graduating from Medill in 2016, I got my first TV News job in Toledo, Ohio, where I worked as the morning reporter and later transitioned into breaking news and a fill-in morning anchor role. None of this would have happened without the encouragement and endless love and support from my beautiful parents. I owe them everything. They are my biggest cheerleaders and watch me every morning even though they're in Michigan and I'm on the West Coast!

What are your main responsibilities at KBAK/KBFX?

My main responsibility is serving as a leader to my team. The role of an anchor goes well beyond just reading from a teleprompter. I actively edit scripts, work with producers on story selection and stacking in a rundown, conduct and book interviews and pitch story ideas. This is in addition to producing my own weekly health show called "Health Alert." As an anchor, you have a birds eye view of the show; it's up to you to speak up if something is not right and keep the show on a smooth path.

How has your Medill training helped you in your career so far?

Medill has provided me with the training and tools needed to feel confident in my journalistic abilities and news judgement. It's miraculous how graduates of Medill stand out from the crowd and in the newsroom. I learned AP Style, TV-news terms, how to tell a compelling story and the importance of integrity on the job. You really do get world-class education that prepares you for any news environment given that you're taught how to report in any medium whether that be TV, print, radio, magazine or documentaries.

What is a class or experience that sticks out in your mind and why?

Ethics of Journalism taught me the boundaries of my job. Being ethical is such an imperative portion of how journalists conduct themselves. In this class we were able to debate with each other about whether something was ethical or not. Another class that was helpful was a news writing course where you cut the fat and get lean with your writing and reporting. I'm thankful to have gotten out the kinks in a classroom setting so it prepared me for the real world. Learn from your mistakes and most importantly learn to not make them again!

How has the Northwestern Medill network helped you advance in your career?

I credit my education at Medill as well as the network it provides to why I've been able to land my two TV news jobs I've had the pleasure of working at. A fellow Medill alum from a previous class emailed the news director for me in Toledo, and my executive producer at my current station in Bakersfield also graduated from Medill. Having the school's stamp on your resume puts your name at the top of the stack because management knows Medill's training is precise and you are equipped to excel in a newsroom.

What advice do you have for someone considering Medill?

Make sure you take the time to enjoy it. Grades and working hard matter, but don't forget how magical of a city Chicago is. Go out, explore and keep your ear to the ground while you do it. Sometimes the best story scoops come up when you least expect it. Keep your eyes peeled and stay curious in all of your environments. What you learn inside of the classroom is so important, soak up everything your knowledgeable professors tell you, but you can also learn so much outside of the classroom. If you're offered the opportunity to go to D.C. for a portion of your program, go. It was hands down the best part of my program. D.C. is the heartbeat of journalism, go to where the action is and get experience reporting on Capitol Hill. It's such great exposure and a wonderful experience.

Anything else you’d like to add?

If any budding journalist wants to connect further for mentorship, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. A lot of people helped me along the way, I would love to pay it forward.

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