Iman Kassam’s skills set her on a rewarding path

Alumni profile

How a “dream” internship launched a journalism career

Iman Kassam’s skills set her on a rewarding path

February 13, 2024

Iman Kassam was so inspired after a lecture at Seneca Polytechnic that she chased down the guest speakers – a move that launched her career.

The Broadcasting – Radio diploma program student asked Rudy Blair and Anne Lavrih, both of whom worked with Toronto’s 680 News (now CityNews 680), what she needed to do to get an internship.

When Ms. Kassam graduated in 2011, with a 4.0 average, she secured a “dream” internship at 680 News and it changed her life.

“Being able to start my career at 680 was such a dream. I got hired on to be a technical producer, putting to use the skills I learned from my profs at Seneca“

The internship turned into a full-time job at 680 News, where she learned from some of the best in the business.

“Being able to start my career at 680 was such a dream,” said Ms. Kassam, now a video journalist with CTV News in Montreal. “I got hired on to be a technical producer, putting to use the skills I learned from my profs at Seneca.

“That is really what helped me get that job as a technical producer. And having that notch on my belt a year into journalism, a year into reporting, was amazing.”

Ms. Kassam, who previously went to five high schools and did a three-year stint at university, said she had a lot of odds stacked against her before landing at Seneca. But the 39-year-old, who describes herself as a gender queer, brown-skinned, tatted Muslim, said her skills set her on a good path.

Portrait of Iman Kassam

From 680 News she moved to the Northwest Territories to work for Indigenous media for almost a decade. Then, just before the pandemic struck, she produced and hosted a show on CBC Radio in Montreal and was hired by CTV News as a video journalist.

Ms. Kassam found her new life in Montreal to be quite a culture shock as she covered rallies and protests sparked by government policies enacted to prevent the spread of COVID-19. At one point, she found herself caught between riot police and 10,000 anti-vaccination demonstrators.

“Going through a massive health crisis as a journalist in a new city was very different than it would’ve been had I still been a journalist in the Northwest Territories,” she said. “It was very important for journalists to be on the front lines and report what they could.”

With the pandemic in the rear-view mirror, she continues to practise her craft at CTV News Montreal. In addition, she’s researching how young Canadians decide what news to trust for a master of professional communications degree at Victoria-based Royal Roads University.

Next up, may be a PhD degree so that she can teach at Seneca, she said.

Her best advice for aspiring journalists?

“Say yes to as many opportunities as possible,” she said. “The teachers at Seneca told me to not stay in one newsroom, to move to a small town and work in a community radio station.

“And they were right. I said yes to every opportunity I could and learned so much so quickly. This career has taken me to really great places.”

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