Al Jazeera Speaker Series features alum Jassim Al Rumaihi
Jassim Al Rumaihi, a senior producer at Al Jazeera Arabic, spoke to a room full of aspiring communication professionals, faculty, and staff about his career journey to working with a leading media network.
Al Rumaihi – an NU-Q alum – spoke about his passion for journalism, which he said began at a young age when he was reporting from the sidelines on Al Gharafa football club’s activities.
Since joining Al Jazeera, Al Rumaihi has been sent as a correspondent to a number of countries, including Nepal to cover the 2014 earthquake, Tunisia to cover the parliamentary elections, and Saudi Arabia, where he reported on the war in Yemen.
“Several NU-Q students have pursued careers within the different entities under Al Jazeera, namely Jeem TV Channel and Al Jazeera English. Speaking to some of the managers at the network on our students’ performance, we have been told that NU-Q students work harder and dig deeper for news stories, and that’s really what sets them apart,” said Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO.
NU-Q established a partnership with Al Jazeera in 2013 and has held the AJ Speaker Series each year, hosting several renowned media professionals from the network.
“Before joining NU-Q, I never dreamed I would speak in front of a live audience, let alone work at Al Jazeera as a producer and reporter. However, thanks to the training and support I received at the university, I was skilled enough to apply for an opportunity to work with Al Jazeera. My filmmaking skills and understanding of new media helped me gain the trust of my managers at Al Jazeera,” Al Rumaihi told the group.
NU-Q Professor Khaled AL Hroub led a lively, interactive session, which included a number of questions from faculty and students on a variety of topics surrounding Al Rumaihi’s experience and career as a journalist and documentary film producer.
When asked about the importance of developing presentation and leadership skills as a student and how he uses what he learned as a student in his current position, he recalled his first public speaking experience as a freshman at NU-Q, where he described himself as “shaky and unconfident.” However, over the years as a student, he said he gained the courage to provide a comprehensive presentation in front of his peers.
“It’s not easy, it takes practice and time, but the most important thing is to be confident. And, confidence is something I got a lot of help developing during my time at NU-Q,” he said.
In another question, Al Rumaihi was asked about the reason behind why he changed his initial career goal to be a sports journalist with BeIN to a news reporter with Al Jazeera.
“The Arab Spring and the uprising of the people in the Arab world, along with the change it created in the Middle East had a tremendous effect on me,” he said. “I was suddenly a lot more fascinated by the news and understood the power of the voice of the people. It became something I wanted to be more involved in.”
Noting Al Rumaihi’s experience as a war correspondent, NU-Q Dean Dennis asked him what special training and personal security measures he took before reporting from the war zone between Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
“We received a few sessions of training on health and safety, procedures, and protocols, as well as ways of behaving and things to say and not to say before going to specific countries. We also usually travel as groups of international media, so we stay in a safe zone and work with locals who are experts on the area we are trying to cover,” said Al Rumaihi.
During the discussion, Al Rumaihi was also asked by current students what advice he would give on preparing for their careers.
“If I could go back in time, I would probably be a lot more involved in university activities, take part in leadership and service learning trips more often, and I would try to get a student job so I can get some working experience in advance. There’s not enough that you can do to prepare yourself for the next chapter, but NU-Q gives students plenty of opportunities to grow and learn, and students should grasp these chances,” he said.
He also encouraged students to become proficient in Arabic. “If you’re a native Arabic speaker, you should read more Arabic literature, write in Arabic, and explore Arabic media. Having a second language is an asset that will help take you places in your career,” he said.
In closing, Al Rumaihi reflected on his aspirations for the future and said that he is committed to working to “help build the media industry locally, and I’m thrilled to be heading the Al Jazeera Qatar office, where we will be able to share our stories with the world.”