NAME: Nisa Islam Muhammad
CITY: Washington, DC
LOCAL CHAPTER AFFILIATION: Washington Association of Black Journalists
OCCUPATION: Staff Writer for The Final Call Newspaper and Host for American Dream on Press TV
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN NABJ? 2004
LEADERSHIP ROLES WITHIN THE ORGANZIATION: Co Chair Black Press Task Force
EDUCATION: University of Maryland Baltimore County, BA in psychology. Howard University Journalism classes
CAREER MILESTONES/ HIGHLIGHTS:
School of Journalism New Media Fellowship
Cuba. Contingent of Black journalists organized by NABJ Founder,
DeWayne Wickham. Exclusive interview
with exiled Assata Shakur.
Spotlight on the
gracious offer by Fidel Castro for a free medical school education at the Latin
American Medical School for low income and minority students.
2010 Best Local
Reporting Award from the New American Media.
Trip to Libya to cover
the conference on African Migrants, "A Decent Life in Europe or a Welcome
Return to Africa.”
Covered the 2008
Democratic National Convention
Accepted the 2005
Black Press Award from the Washington Association of Black Journalists for The
Tell us about yourself.
I'm the third
child of Lonnie and Bertha Miller born and raised in Washington, DC. I grew up in the Baptist church where my
father was the Associate Pastor. While
in college I heard Minister Farrakhan speak at Howard University and converted
to Islam. I'm married and have five
children. I'm also passionate about the
Black family. I founded and lead a non profit
called Wedded Bliss Foundation that was featured in 2009 on CNN's Black in
America 2. I've written nearly all of my
life. In elementary school I wrote books
for sick children that were used by the Red Cross. When I wanted something from my mother and I
was unsure of her response I wrote her a letter. While in college I wrote love letters for my
friends. They were a big hit.
In addition to
writing for The Final Call Newspaper, I've recently transitioned into broadcast
journalism. I produce and host a show on Press TV, Iran's only English speaking
news station, called American Dream. Each
week there's a different news topic that I explore with guests. I've been doing
it since December. It has been both inspiring and rewarding.
What inspired you to work in journalism/
media related profession?
I love to write
and I especially love to tell stories.
Further, I enjoy being the conduit between the world's affairs and my
readers. I realized that writing was my
passion during my second semester of my senior year. I had never written on a school newspaper but
in my heart knew that I could and could do it well. I graduated and applied to Howard
University. It was like going through
undergrad all over again because Howard does not have a masters in journalism
program. So I took all the journalism
classes I could. I even wrote for the
Hilltop, the school's newspaper. That's
where I met Sam Yette and my life was forever changed as a writer.
How has NABJ benefited you
NABJ has been the
glue that has cemented me to the journalism profession. I have met some incredible people, spoke on exciting
panels at the convention and attended amazing conferences. I've learned new
skills and more.
What advice do you have for aspiring
young journalists/ media related professionals?
Let your passion
for writing take you places you've never gone before. Write with pride and
courage. Tell the stories others are afraid to tell. We need writers to tell the truth about our
condition and what's happening in our communities. We need to speak truth to power and not just
regurgitate the stereotypes that seem to always find their place in the
news. Love what you do and write stories
that your mother would be proud to read.
Start something new, an online newspaper, magazine, news show or
something else. We need more
publications that serve our community.
What are your thoughts on the future of
be here as long as there is news to tell which should be forever. Keep up with the technology and find your
place in the future. While others
bemoan the death of the newspaper, lets celebrate the birth of new technology.
The one tool you can't live without as a
journalist/ media related professional?
I have three
tools, my EVO phone which can also serve as a recorder and camera, my camera
which can also record video and my Ipad.
I can cover just about any story with those things.
Please tell us who in journalism/your
profession you admire and why?
Muhammad-News Director WPFW Washington, DC-He has taken the road less traveled
and excelled in journalism. I love his
writing, I love his commentary and his opinions. I can better understand the world by
listening to and reading his works. He's
my sounding board when I need advice. I
trust his judgment and honor his ability to speak truth to power.
Wickham-NABJ founder and USA Today Columnist-He showed me the possibilities in
journalism. I love listening to his stories and love reading his column. I
admire his work to help those really in need.
He had a scholarship fund for students who had low grades but not because
they couldn't do the work but because of some traumatic event in their
lives. I'm amazed by that kind of
devotion to help young people. He also runs the Trotter's Group, another
I also love the
writing and works of Dorothy Gilliam, Lonnae O'Neal and Oprah.