Fayroz Chamdid Anchor and Reporter for TV2 Norway. Credits: TV2

Fayroz Chamdid Anchor and Reporter for TV2 Norway. Credits: TV2

Media dialogues: Fayroz Chamdid
She's a news anchor and reporter for TV 2 in Norway. Headquartered in Bergen, is the first commercial free-to-air television channel
5 Mar 2024

This article is part of a series of interviews with people who work in the media to provide the news and views that shape our perceptions of world affairs. Fayroz Chamdid, News Anchor and Reporter from TV 2 Norway, spoke to UN Today about her life and career in media.

What is your professional background?

My passion for journalism started from a young age. Growing up in an Arab household, we watched a lot of ‘Al Jazeera.’ This early exposure propelled me into journalism. During my journalism studies I got an internship at Al Arabiya in Dubai. This gave me insight and experience early on.

After my studies I commenced my professional career at the Norwegian Broadcasting Agency, NRK. During my work in NRK, I had the desire to bring a broader perspective to my work. That led me to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in comparative politics from the University of Bergen.

Armed with a new degree and speaking fluently in Arabic, I was ready for new challenges. That’s when I got the significant opportunity to join TV 2 Norway’s Foreign News Department. Over the past five years I have worked as a reporter and a news anchor for the channel.

I am passionate about presenting information in a way that is accessible to everyone which is what I aim to do in my work as a reporter and news anchor. I find joy in simplifying complex stories so that I can ensure that my presentations resonate with a diverse audience.

An outstanding interview in my career was with a leader of the Sudanese revolution. It was about the political divisions and difficult moments that Sudan was going through. The interview was a month before the Sudanese war, after which the confrontations between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces broke out in April 2023.

What’s the best interview you’ve ever done?

We journalists have the unique opportunity to meet so many kinds of people. Picking the best interview is always possible and can sometimes feel unfair, but it’s more about meeting people. Every person I talk to brings something special to the table.

I’ve met people with stories that would make a filmmaker take notes. I’ve met a range of people, from refugees who lost everything to people narrowly escaping death and people facing crises and conquering obstacles head-on. The thing is, it’s not about a single interview being the best. It’s the whole package- the variety, the surprises, the genuine moments that make it special. It’s not only about stories of struggle, but it is also about the fun stories. I can have a good interview in the studio where the person being interviewed just keeps giving and giving. It’s the diversity from hearing about someone’s wild adventures to meeting people who have been through major obstacles in life.

What’s the interview you’d like to do but not been able to?

This is a hard question, because there are so many interesting people and personalities to pick from. But personally, I love to do interviews where I can dive into perspectives beyond our western narrative, and maybe find personalities that withhold information that we need.

I would love to do a series where I interview some of the most significant and powerful politicians in the world. That would be a dream scenario.

The media content industry will change over the next decade as a result of the rapid technological developments that the world is currently experiencing. We have seen a lot of evolution in global newsrooms, so I expect to see more evolution in the coming years.

Fayroz Chamdid, Anchor & Reporter for TV2 Norway, broadcasting from London. Credits: TV2.

What is your view in the role of media?

I personally think that the role the media plays also indicates where our democracy stands. The role of the media is crucial in a democratic society. We play a significant role in informing the public, fostering public discourse, and holding those in power accountable. As the media, we have a great ability to challenge those in power and shape the public awareness.

What is your vision of media 10 years from now?

These days, several factors challenge the role of the media, especially social media. These circumstances lead to speculation about the future role of the media. While we play a crucial role, we cannot be immune to criticism.

Amidst the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, we have observed the role being questioned. There is criticism both regarding how we cover it from the Western perspective and about not showing the most graphic pictures. Some people feel they get more information from social media than from traditional news outlets. This issue is something we must take seriously because it can also impact where the media stands 10 years from now. In these cases, we must take a more significant role in addressing the rapid spread of information on social media, focusing more on proper verification, a direction we have emphasized over the last couple of years.

Having said that, I am confident that the media will play a crucial role in many years to come. A responsible and independent media is essential for a functioning democracy. For example, the corona pandemic demonstrated that people turned to us for accurate information, leading to an increase in our viewing numbers. The same narrative applies when discussing the war in Ukraine; people approached us to listen to politicians, experts, and read stories from civilians impacted by the war.

This is a positive indicator that shows we still play a crucial role. So, I am not pessimistic about the future of the media, but, like every other business, we have to adapt to changes.

Could you share an interesting work-related anecdote?

It is often said that journalists act like a herd, and my experience during an event in Erbil in 2020 was no exception. A former member of the Islamic State was to be returned to Norway with her sick child.The only thing we knew was that the child was receiving treatment at a hospital in Erbil, so several Norwegian journalists went there.

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs kept the details tight, and information was scarce. Many of us flocked to the hospital where the child’s treatment was taking place, hoping to trace their onward journey to Norway. My photographer and I landed at 3am, rested briefly before getting up again at six to start the workday.

Our first stop was the hospital where we met several others from the Norwegian media. Soon enough, we all received the same information: the Norwegian woman and her child were flying to Norway. In a collective rush, every journalist booked the same flight – it must have been around noon when this happened.

My photographer and I decided to split up: he stayed behind while I went to the airport – an insurance in case the rumors turned out to be false. At the airport, people visibly working for the Norwegian authorities began to show up, confirming parts of our belief that we had made the right choice by taking this flight.

Most of the seats on the plane were reserved. Several of us thought, “Jackpot, we managed to trace them!” The triumphant feeling was quickly dampened as the crew announced, “boarding completed.” Then, both me and my colleagues from other media agencies realized that this was most likely just a show for the gallery- now we were on our way home while the story still lingered in Erbil.

We felt tricked out of the country, giving the authorities room to operate without the press around them. The woman came home the next day on the same flight. Even today, I still wonder if she was to be on the same plane as us. The funny thing is that this is my shortest work trip ever: less than 24 hours in Erbil.

* Julián Ginzo is a member of the Editorial Board of UN Today.
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