Great to have my father, the first journalist I ever knew, by my side as a became a member of the National Press Club.
Great to have my father, the first journalist I ever knew, by my side as I became a member of the National Press Club.

Last Friday after a lively debate on PBS, I went to the prestigious National Press Club in Washington where I was welcomed as a new member by the President, Myron Belkind.

What exactly does the Press Club do you ask? They explain it very well themselves on their website:

The National Press Club, a private club for journalists and communications professionals, has been a Washington institution for more than a century…its mission is to be The World’s Leading Professional Organization for Journalists. It is…dedicated to supporting the ongoing improvement of the profession of journalism.

The best part of this unexpected honor was having my father there with me. He was the first journalist I ever knew, and he is why I am able to do what I do- literally.

Bangladesh’s oldest national newspaper, The Daily Ittefaq is more than just a publication for my family. It is my paternal grandfather’s greatest legacy, and has defined generations of my family history.

Growing up in Bangladesh, people would use the fact that my father had four daughters and no sons as vindication for why he should not be an owner of the paper. With no male heirs, who would inherit the newspaper? Who would run it? Certainly not girls, right?

My father with the President of the Press Club who spent years in South Asia working for the Associated Press.
My father with the President of the Press Club who spent years in South Asia working for the Associated Press.

Well, we sure proved them wrong. It took decades of family feuding, but we did it. My father was at the front and center of this struggle, often on his own, to allow his daughters to be a part of the family legacy, and to let us keep Ittefaq alive. In the end, my father showed his kids that you have to stand firm for what you believe. You must fight for your convictions.

Last year, I was proud to start working at ClickIttefaq.com, the English-web version of Bangladesh’s iconic Ittefaq brand, as their Online Editor. It is in this capacity that I became a member of the Press Club. This is an emotional honor for me.

On a side note, I am proud to say that all those years spent slaving away in my high school yearbook class finally paid off, all the way from Dhaka to DC.

 

 

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