By Mary Giles

Niranjalli Varma

Niranjalli Varma

While Niranjalli Varma was still a high school student, the live reporting of the Kargil War from the India-Pakistan border sparked her interest in journalism. “Later, as I became more aware of the social issues, conflict and inequalities around me, my passion for telling stories, especially that of the marginalized, blossomed and grew,” she says. “Journalism became my way of giving back to society.”

Before immigrating to Canada in 2018, she was a professional journalist in India covering major political and social events. She also taught journalism for four years as an undergraduate faculty member.

Varma says, “Despite holding a master’s degree in journalism from India, I chose to pursue a Master of Journalism (MJ) at Carleton to familiarize myself with the Canadian media milieu and better my journalistic skills and knowledge to keep up with storytelling trends.”

“Carleton was undoubtedly my first choice. It has the reputation of having one of the nation’s most prestigious journalism programs devoted to excellence in teaching and moulding incredible storytellers that work in newsrooms across Canada.”

One of the benefits of the program for Varma was the ability to closely interact with and learn from professors and instructors who are also experienced journalists. She says, “The faculty provides support as you push your boundaries, experiment and explore to equip you to adapt to the changes and demands of this industry.”

In 2019, Varma was the recipient of the second Peter Stursberg Award in Conflict Journalism and Media Studies to produce a documentary for her final MJ project. She says, “Hijrah (migration) explores the pain and stigma of families in Kerala, India, who witnessed their loved ones leave for Syria and Afghanistan to join the Islamic State. The documentary features original interviews with families who had their loved ones spirited away by ISIS, including a first-hand account of an individual who left India for Syria, but was later deported back to India. It is the Peter Stursberg Award that made this documentary a reality.”

Through the MJ program, Varma completed an internship at Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC) and was later hired on contract. “I had the opportunity to closely observe and cover the 2019 federal election and help produce three prominent current affairs shows,” she says. “Despite being a print and multimedia journalist, Carleton’s training enabled me to handle journalism across all platforms.”

“In February, I joined CPAC again and am working on one of my favourite beats — Parliament and federal politics. I’m looking forward to covering my second national election later this year.”

Friday, June 18, 2021 in , ,
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