The state of the economy is in the spotlight, and the nation’s youth is a group uniquely affected by the cutbacks and rising unemployment rates. Negative effects on the media industry are severely apparent, but to Ohio University’s Taylor Mirfendereski, there is no better time to pursue broadcast journalism.
Whether it be interviewing an Iranian journalist, telling a homeless person’s story or uncovering the truth about homosexuality in Iran, Mirfendereski welcomes challenges. Her heart is set on a job at a network and to one day host a program like “Anderson Cooper 360.”
“I’ll take any story,” Mirfendereski said while preparing for spring quarter final exams. While she noted the stresses of class work and pending tests, she also stressed the need to stay on top of her work because she would be spending the weekend in Columbus to interview homeless people for a personal broadcast project.
An ambitious student, Mirfendereski is in the Honors Tutorial College, which allows her to take any class without prerequisites. Working ahead to remain competitive in the market, she will begin her second year with a junior status. Outside of class, Mirfendereski is a campus correspondent for CNN and is an active member of the Radio-Television News Directors
Association, Asian American Journalists Association, and the university forensics and debate team. A member of SPJ, Mirfendereski will be vice president of the OU chapter for the 2009-10 school year.
Her passion began at an early age. In third grade, she was a finalist in a Time for Kids magazine reporter contest. Her particular interest in the technical side of journalism began in
middle school when she took several video editing classes. She became serious about journalism in high school, where she realized that her true love was broadcast. She began a broadcast program at school and attended as many journalism camps as she could to expand her knowledge of broadcast journalism.
Mirfendereski goes after her dream as much as she goes after each individual story, with fortitude and a desire to uncover the truth. She has pursued her dreams all over the world, unable to be contained by the classroom.
“I try to take advantage of the opportunity that I can be in places where other people can’t, like Iran,” Mirfendereski said.
A citizen of the United States and Iran, Mirfendereski had the opportunity to interview an Iranian journalist and shoot video of the gasoline rations that occurred several years ago in the country. Her experiences abroad influenced her perspective of cultures, the world and herself.
“The biggest thing that shaped my character and interest was being exposed to other lifestyles and realizing that my lifestyle is just one among millions,” she said. “Seeing the things I’ve seen in Iran and other places, I really wanted to find a way to share those experiences.”
In college, Mirfendereski is taking advantage of internships and fellowships. She worked for NBC 4 (WSMH) in Columbus this summer and will intern with NBC’s “Today Show” beginning in September during her fall quarter. Mirfendereski continues to blaze her own trail in journalism and toward her goals. When it comes to the future of journalism, she isn’t worried.
“I don’t have any doubts about getting a job,” Mirfendereski said. “And the worries and fears are an incentive to work harder and make sure I am one of the people who continue to be competitive.”
Mirfendereski encourages fellow journalism students to be persistent, to never do the minimum and to always look for more to do.
“I feel like being a journalist is giving back, doing a service to the public by giving them stories that they wouldn’t have a clue about otherwise,” she said. “As a journalist, I get to be a mini-expert about everything, and I’m able to do something that I love and feel like I’m making a difference.”