Press Release, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Kelly Golnoush Niknejad, M.S. '05 & M.A. '06, has launched Tehran Bureau, an online news magazine. The blog-style site aims to separate fact from misinformation about Iran by having specialized, bilingual journalists from around the world report on the country.
"The Iran story is very complicated. This is exacerbated by many other factors, including travel, which is limited by both governments, especially with respect to journalists," Niknejad said. "Each side has developed a warped image of the other. The mainstream media, by its very definition, has a limited appetite for Iran stories on too regular a basis even though U.S. policy toward Iran is vital right now."
Tehran Bureau is a virtual one, or a bureau in transit, Niknejad explained. Reporters will be based all over the world to "access the global viewpoint of the affairs of the Middle East as they affect cultural, financial and political lives around the world," she said.
At present, Niknejad divides her time between New York City and Boston. Fariba Pajooh is the chief correspondent in Tehran, while Jason Rezaian will cover the Iranian presidential campaign from the capital city. Leila Darabi '06 will contribute reporting from New York City. Other reporters are based in Isfahan in Iran, Dubai, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Florence and Berlin. Thor Neureiter will develop video for the Web site. Most of Tehran Bureau's staff is bilingual.
"We also want Tehran Bureau to be written by Iranians in Iran and the Middle East, as well as foreigners viewing or interacting with our culture for the first time," Niknejad said. "Hyphenated Iranians like myself can help gel it all together."
Niknejad, who was born in Iran and lived there until age 17, is a lawyer-turned-journalist. As an M.S. student at the Journalism School, she specialized in newspaper reporting. The following year, Niknejad earned an M.A. in journalism with a focus on politics.
She has reported for the Los Angeles Times, TIME Magazine, California Lawyer and PBS/Frontline. Most recently, she was a staff reporter for the new English-language newspaper The National in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Niknejad is a syndicated columnist with Agence Global and a freelance producer and consultant on Iran to ABC News.
A recurrent theme in Tehran Bureau's coverage this year will be revolution and exile.
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