I want to give people information that will affect their lives.
Nadine Drummond loves challenges. And she loves reporting the news. So she spends an hour every morning poring over every newspaper application on her phone to learn what’s trending.
“I want to give people information that will affect their lives,” said Drummond, who received a master’s degree from the broadcast journalism program in 2005.
Drummond recently accepted the position of output producer for Al Jazeera in Qatar, where her responsibilities include writing, designing graphics, editing video and sound to help tell the stories for the regions she covers.
Drummond made her first major career decision when she chose to attend University of Miami. It was a move, she said, her parents were not happy with, because it meant Drummond would no longer pursue a degree in law.
But at UM, Drummond said, she found the resources that would help shape skills that she would later use in her work.
“The University of Miami provided for my career. You could learn as much as you wanted to, because everything was there for you to succeed,” Drummond said.
Some of those resources came in the form of mentors, she said, whose experience in the field helped give Drummond a realistic approach to her work. Tsitsi Wakhisi, associate professor of professional practice of journalism, was one of them.
“Professor Wakhisi taught me that words matter,” Drummond said. “That you can’t fudge stuff and that you have to have a true, honest voice – because you are representing someone’s voice.”
Drummonds drive sometimes led her to do stories many of her peers would shy away from.
“I remember stories she wanted to do were tough, difficult stories,” said Sam Roberts, a former Frances L. Wolfson Chair for broadcast journalism who was also a mentor to Drummond.
After graduation, Drummond went to The Miami Herald to write in the newspaper’s Neighbors section. The position, she said, helped her develop skills that would become essential to her career.
“I got to go to Cuban communities and Haitian communities. It was through The Miami Herald I was able to learn how to make lots of different people comfortable with me,” said Drummond, who was born in England to Jamaican parents.
Drummond continued her career at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel as a multimedia field producer.
“The Sun-Sentinel taught me online media, television, how to repurpose stories,” she recalled.
Drummond made a major career move when she got the opportunity to work for CNN in Atlanta as an associate producer and writer.
Drummond said her interest in reporting hard news stems from her background. Her parents emigrated from Jamaica to England where, she said, they experienced discrimination and found themselves fighting for basic respect in English society. Drummond said the experience drove home the importance of social justice.
“The stories that I find interesting are about people like me,” she said. “People from the outside, people who are different, are immigrants.”
The move from CNN to Al Jazeera gives Drummond an opportunity to be at the forefront of history, given the events of the recent Arab Spring. Drummond will play a part of telling their stories.
“I’m adaptable and open to the experience,” Drummond said. “I’m just going to go and do it. I’m going to have to learn Arabic. I’m going to learn their culture… I’m going to do what I need to tell the stories of the people.”
Drummond now lives in Doha, Qatar.