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SOC Alumna Shares Haiti Experience

Mariam Simpson

Al Jazeera broadcast producer Mariam Simpson, SOC/MA ’07

Al Jazeera broadcast producer Mariam Simpson, SOC/MA ’07, returned to AU to speak to students after covering the devastation in Haiti following the earthquake.

Professor Jane Hall teaches one of the classes Simpson visited. “Mariam spoke so eloquently about the need for journalists to focus on people whose lives are difficult, people who aren't powerful,” Hall says.

Simpson also visited Professor W. Joseph Campbell’s class, Foreign Policy and the Press. “Mariam is a former student of mine, and as I said in introducing her that morning, it's a great pleasure for professors to welcome back to class former students who have done outstanding work after graduating,” Campbell says.

Simpson visited Haiti to report on the recent earthquake. During her time there, Simpson says, “My days involved everything from field producing stories, coordinating live shots with our broadcast centers around the world in Doha, London, Washington DC, and Kuala Lumpur, and getting interviews with people in Port au Prince: among them, President Preval, Prime Minister Bellerive, the Haitian national police chief and Rev. Jesse Jackson.”

Going to Haiti was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, Simpson says. “I've covered nothing like Haiti. I was with seasoned journalists who saw things in Haiti they'd never seen before.” But, Simpson says, she was prepared to report the story.

Simpson started at Al Jazeera in 2008 as a planning producer to organize network coverage of the presidential election. One of her most recent stories in her new role as interview producer deals with the United States’ decision to escalate troops in Afghanistan.