Internship Spotlight: Mamoune Zizi - Upstream Journal

I’m a rising third-year student at McGill double majoring in Political Science and Psychology. My academic journey has been driven by a keen interest for understanding political dynamics and social justice issues as well as examining the influences of culture, group membership and relationships on individuals. Ultimately interested in the fields of law and journalism, my interests mostly stem from a desire to contribute to positive change in our society by shedding light on critical matters through effective communication.

I sought the internship opportunity at the Upstream Journal because I wanted to gain practical experience in the field of political journalism, specifically human rights and social justice. My learning objectives were to immerse myself in a professional editorial environment, enhance my research and writing skills, and gain insights into the dynamics of producing content for a magazine that addresses crucial societal issues.

The Upstream Journal’s motto revolves around the central idea that the protection of human rights is built upon the participation of people who are informed and empowered through education and honest journalism. Precisely, it is a magazine about human rights and social justice. Since its launch in January 1986, it has told the stories of people and communities facing poverty, oppression and marginalization with the goal of giving them, to the extent we could, a voice.

As an intern at Upstream Journal, I was responsible for a variety of tasks that contributed to the magazine's mission. These included researching and drafting articles, conducting interviews with experts and activists, fact-checking, editing and proofreading, as well as contributing to editorial meetings and brainstorming sessions. I also had the opportunity to assist in social media management and the organization of virtual events, helping to amplify the magazine's reach and impact.

I loved the experience of interviewing the author Rita El Khayat and the professor Houda Folleas. The passion and insights that came from their answers filled me with joy and curiosity. I had the privilege to ask El Khayat about the specific interpretations of her latest book and Folleas about the first signs of feminism in Morocco.

My mentor said I was often overthinking and planning too much for the interviews. This led to mistakes like preparing complicated questions and asking them too early. To overcome that, I've come to understand the significance of active listening. Instead of analyzing excessively or overthinking during interviews, I've grasped the worth of genuinely focusing on the professionals I'm interviewing. By immersing myself in their knowledge and viewpoints, I anticipated creating more authentic and enlightening discussions.

When writing my article, I tended to present the information mostly like a collection of facts rather than a story, worrying about emotional writing. To address this, I'm working on infusing storytelling elements into my articles. By incorporating anecdotes, personal experiences, and emotions, I aim to make the content more engaging and relatable to readers, fostering a deeper connection and understanding of the subject matter.

I did not receive academic credit for this internship. My research topic was centered around the condition of marginalization and the road to emancipation for women in Morocco at the era of the Moudawana. I had the amazing opportunity to be supervised by Derek MacCuish, the general editor of the journal.

Engaging with real-world issues through journalism has broadened my perspective and deepened my appreciation for the importance of accurate and impactful communication. Moreover, I would say that this internship has enriched my university experience by bridging the gap between my theoretical background and practical application (professionalizing my desire to engage with journalistic techniques).

The financial support has alleviated the financial burden of the internship and allowed me to fully engage in the learning experience. I used it for transportation and lodging to be able to stay in Montreal during the full duration of the internship. I am deeply grateful for the Arts Student Employment Fund that provided funding for this valuable experience.

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