Hi - I'm Amna Nawaz, a national correspondent at PBS NewsHour. Prior to joining the NewsHour in April 2018, I was an anchor and correspondent at ABC News, and for a decade before, at NBC in a variety of roles including the network's Islamabad correspondent/bureau chief. I've reported on the dangers of drinking while pregnant, police shootings of unarmed black men, our planet’s growing plastic pollution problem, the confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh, and just last month, interviewed President Erdogan of Turkey. Ask me anything!

Proof: https://twitter.com/IAmAmnaNawaz/status/1049650504756850688

This AMA is part of r/IAmA’s “Spotlight on Journalism” project which aims to shine a light on the state of journalism and press freedom in 2018. Join us for a new AMA every day in October. 


UPDATE: 12:20p and I'm logging off. Thanks for your questions! Tweet me with those music suggestions (@IamAmnaNawaz)!

And follow our work here: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/ and u/NewsHour!

Comments: 712 • Responses: 25  • Date: 

gerritvb256 karma

Every day, more news content is published than I could read in an entire month if all I did was read/watch that news content. Why should folks prioritize the content that you are connected with?

NewsHour440 karma

I FEEL YOUR PAIN. Here's my pitch for what we offer: it's straightforward, thoughtful reporting that's unparalleled in the American media landscape. I'm so proud of what we put out every day - on the broadcast and online. But I'm never going to say you should ONLY have one news source. These days, I think it's more important than ever to have multiple sources. Just watch/read ours first and go from there :)

JTC80220 karma

How do you feel about the state of journalism and press freedom in America right now?

NewsHour317 karma

i feel pretty good. i don't think there's ever been a better time to be a journalist in modern American history. yes, there are challenges. yes, there are hurdles. but i think those challenges and hurdles force us to be better. on the issue of press freedom, i've reported from countries where there's really no press freedom. so that's my basis for comparison. i'm troubled by attacks on the press here -- from the president to the people I meet while out reporting stories -- but that doesn't change what we do, or how we do our jobs. the only way to get people to trust us is by continuing to do what we do every day.

NewsHour115 karma

hi guys! thanks for hanging with me here. jumping into q's now...

pamisstoneyboloney106 karma

What is your HONEST opinion on how well you handle news bias? I feel like there's pressure to lean one way or the other. Perfect world it would be "unbiased reporting" but going through Communication school and getting a degree in broadcasting has taught me that's all but attainable.

Also, speaking of broadcasting, what's your favorite things about BEHIND the scenes with your photographers, cameramen, directors, etc.

Thanks for answering in advance!

NewsHour124 karma

Congratulations on your degree! (and good luck out there)

Honestly? I've never felt pressure to "lean" one way or the other. Or to pick a side. I've always felt like I can just be on the side of the facts. If you feel that kind of pressure, you might not be in the right place to do the kind of journalism it sounds like you want to do.

I've always said: I bring my whole self to this job. That includes everything I've lived through and learned and seen and heard. None of that influences my reporting, it only informs it. If I can treat every person's story the same way I would want mine treated, I've done what I set out to do.

Behind the scenes: I ALWAYS have music on. In my office. In the car on road trips. In the studio before I sub-anchor. Always. And I'm always looking for new music (hint hint...)

mobilehomies23 karma

What kinds of music do you like?

NewsHour66 karma

ALL KINDS. seriously. hip hop, country, pop, classical, rock...

here's an unedited scroll through my last spotify playlist: Marshmello, Brian Fallon, Bleachers, People Under the Stairs, Tribe Called Quest, Erick Sermon, Aloe Blacc, The Chainsmokers, Sam Smith, Lady Gaga, Marvin Gaye, The Hives, Lauryn Hill, Stevie Wonder, The Roots, The Beatles, Blur, Bell Biv Devoe (i'm not ashamed), Drake...I'll stop here. But you get the idea.

biologist5699 karma

Has a shift from commercial news organizations to PBS altered your journalistic responsibilities?

NewsHour238 karma

Not my responsibilities in terms of how I tell stories, but certainly the TIME i get to tell those stories. In previous roles, I've had to fit really complicated topics into a couple of minutes (and the journos who are good at this are also reeeeallly good at culling down to just the most essential info). But having 6, 7, even 10 minutes to thoughtfully explore a topic is a luxury. It allows for context and nuance. Two things that we could really use more of right now.

drewmate85 karma

Hi Amna, thanks for being here!

What are Mark Shields and David Brooks like off camera? I imagine them to be really good buddies constantly cracking wise from a balcony overlooking the set. Can you confirm?

NewsHour108 karma

ten points for the first person who can remember the Muppet characters you're referencing...

I adore Mark and David. They are every bit as lovely and generous and kind as they are smart and thoughtful and insightful.

And i am fully on-board for a big-screen buddy comedy.

srone77 karma

Statler and Waldorf

NewsHour55 karma


biologist560 karma

Ernie and Burt

NewsHour12 karma

minus 10 points

DrunkHacker68 karma

How best can technology companies like Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter work with traditional media to encourage productive conversations outside our increasingly polarized echo chambers?

NewsHour93 karma

AMAs are a good start (hi.)

We do a lot of Facebook lives - calling for and answering viewers questions. (like this: https://www.facebook.com/newshour/videos/10156405868643675/)

I also try to answer any legitimate questions that folks send on Twitter.

But yeah, there's a lot of work to be done to get folks to engage outside their comfort zones. It's more on us, as news organizations, to figure out the platforms to do that. So all ideas, welcome!

nullmother35 karma

What advice can you give to an aspiring journalist in high school?

NewsHour54 karma

Learn from the folks who carved a path ahead of you, but don't be afraid to do things differently.


orangejulius28 karma

What was life like for you in Islamabad?

What was your scariest moment as a journalist?

NewsHour56 karma

Fun fact: my family is actually originally from Pakistan, and growing up, we spent a lot of time every summer there. So covering the country, as an adult, was a little surreal. The joke is that Islamabad (home to govt officials and most of the international community) is really 10 miles outside of Pakistan. It's a beautiful city. Lovely tree-lined avenues. Big, gated homes. An absolutely breathtaking mosque to visit (Faisal Mosque). But Pakistan is an incredibly diverse country - in landscape and culture and people. So to really understand the country you have to get out of Islamabad. Which I did. And I loved. You will not meet more welcoming people than in Pakistan. Complete strangers opening their doors to you to offer you tea. My scariest moment was probably food-poisoning related because I have the terrible habit of wanting to try every roadside tea stall and food cart I come across.

arunimar27 karma

Hi, Can you share some interview tips for journalists?There was an interesting discussion on Twitter about this. What's the secret sauce of a great interview?

NewsHour74 karma


IsFullOfIt19 karma

As a former aid worker I felt jaded for years about being on the scene of a complex humanitarian crisis, and then coming back to see very little coverage because it happened in a least-developed country (DRC and Burundi as examples) where the high mortality rates were considered “business as usual” and therefore not newsworthy. I’m glad to see this changing in recent years but the constant political drama still seems to be an overriding distraction to important issues. I’m obviously biased to humanitarian crises because of my experiences but I feel there are many others.

For you personally, what do you think is the most important issue right now in the world that is receiving a disproportionately low journalistic coverage? Do you also feel that there are critical issues that people should know but don’t make the headlines because they don’t “sell”?

NewsHour28 karma

I think Women's Health is vastly under-covered around the world. Especially for something that has the potential to impact and change the trajectory of a community. Access to health, maternal health, health education, sexual assault, research related to women's health...all of it.

egregiousmonkey19 karma

What is your personal pet project at the moment? What do you want to world to know?

NewsHour66 karma

getting my kids to sleep through the night. (they're 5 and 2. it's A Thing.)

seriously though, i've done a lot of immigration work here, including following a 3-year-old girl, named Sofi, for the 7 weeks she was separated from her family, through to the moment they were reunited (we're following their story still - here's the latest: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/for-7-weeks-sofi-begged-to-go-home-now-reunited-her-journey-isnt-over)

But for all the coverage about Family Separation, there are a lot of lower-level changes being made to how we, as a country, handle immigration -- who we allow in, who we allow to stay -- that don't get enough attention. I'm always pulling string on those - hoping to have more on those soon...

Abba_Fiskbullar19 karma

PBS Newshour has always tried to present both sides of an issue. How does that work in the Trump era when facts and data are seemingly irrelevant?

NewsHour85 karma

"Alternative facts" are a new challenge, for sure. But I don't think facts are irrelevant. They're more important than ever. Cutting through the fog of spin and misinformation and talking points is what we've always tried to do at the NewsHour. The goal is to shed light, not add heat. That facts usually speak for themselves. Our job is to root them out and hold them up for everyone to see.

knice11118 karma

Do you have any advice for aspiring journalists hoping to "make it" (find full-time work) in the world of hard news reporting?

NewsHour37 karma

Do the job you want before you get the job you want. The doors are open these days. There's nothing stopping folks from going out and reporting/publishing great stories from their own communities to get your foot in the door.

When you get your foot in the door, be the first to show up and the last to leave. Find out what everyone else does, even if it has very little to do with your primary role. Ask to help. Say yes a lot, until you get to the next step.

When you get to the next step, don't be afraid to ask for help. And don't forget the people who helped you get there. Or the ones coming up behind you, who also need help getting a foot in the door.

MrFrode15 karma

Do you have any concerns about view point diversity in news rooms? And if so what do you think can or should be done about it?

NewsHour10 karma

I think it's getting better. But there is a lot of work to be done.

I've seen real change occur in places where it's not just about ticking boxes at the entry-level, it's about growing and developing talented people who bring diverse perspectives into leadership positions.

Duke_Paul12 karma

Twitter said I could ask you about pregnancy body armor? Firstly, whaaaa? Secondly, any tips or suggestions to help my pregnant friends get battle-ready?

And thirdly, you interviewed Erdogan. Do you think he's sincere in claiming Jamal Khashoggi was a friend, and/or what's Erdogan's angle with the Khashoggi case?


NewsHour22 karma

So I was a few months pregnant when I was the first foreign journalist allowed into North Waziristan with the Pakistan Army. (I joke that my daughter was the 2nd foreigner allowed into NWA) Luckily, my regular body still fit at that stage but the morning sickness, while riding in helicopters, driving unpaved roads, and hiking across hilltops, was unreal. My suggestion to your friends: pack ginger candies for nausea. Stay hydrated. And if you can get into local communities, talk to the women there, who can give the best advice about how to handle pregnancies in those conflict zones since they actually live there, while the rest of us have the luxury of being able to leave.

On Khashoggi: what we know so far is deeply worrying, but we need to know more. and hopefully we will today. Here's what we know so far: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/washington-post-journalist-jamal-khashoggi-has-disappeared-will-the-u-s-take-a-stand

breadlvr7 karma

We’re you close to Gwen Ifil?

NewsHour18 karma

Sadly, I wasn't. I arrived at the NewsHour after Gwen had passed. But her legacy looms large in these halls.

I DID have the chance to meet her at the Republican National Convention in 2016, through a mutual friend. And in our brief time together, she was every bit as gracious and hilarious and warm and incredible as everyone says she was.

tv314lyfe4 karma

What's your best advice for staying objective as a journalist in this volatile news climate where there seems to be a need to constantly defend good journalism?

NewsHour18 karma

worry less about defending the work we do, and more on just doing the work we do.

good journalism speaks for itself.

UrethraX3 karma

How many push ups with claps can you do?

NewsHour8 karma

NONE. but now I have a new goal.

challenge accepted. check back in a week.

wimpyroy2 karma

What’s your favorite shoe?

croolshooz1 karma

Do you think the editors of PBS slant the content towards the conservative? I just know that sometimes I feel like throwing things at the TV.

NewsHour12 karma

please don't throw anything.

but no, i've never seen or heard our editors slant our coverage any way but towards the facts.

mando44646-2 karma

why don't reporters actually straight-up say that Trump lies every time he does? They seem to play softball with everything and avoid that one word

NewsHour25 karma

So a few months ago, someone asked Judy Woodruff this question, and here's what she said: https://ew.com/tv/2018/07/31/pbs-newshour-trump/

And I think she said it better than I could've.