Iraq’s ‘Voice of Independence’ Celebrates First Birthday

In late January 2010, a small, but determined group of students and an impassioned faculty adviser carved out a place in Iraqi journalism history. They launched The AUI-S Voice, the country’s first independent student newspaper.

A year on– with a new adviser and new students in a majority of editorial posts– the paper continues producing quality journalism.  To celebrate, current and former student staffers, the paper’s founding adviser Jackie Spinner, its current adviser Paul Craft, AUI-S communications director Elia Boggia, and others gathered to sing happy birthday, socialize, reflect, and eat cake.  Check out a brief video of the festivities posted by Spinner.

Arez Hussen Ahmed (in the screenshot above), the newspaper’s current editor in chief, recently told me “it was like yesterday when we started the newspaper.”  In his words, “I feel like the AUI-S Voice is a part of me. I always think about [it]. Sometimes I dream about it. I never thought that I would feel that much passion for anything, but . . . I gradually felt in love with journalism and the Voice. . . . The most fantastic moment is when I see the students reading the Voice. I always tell myself that they are reading our work. . . . From the bottom of my heart, I thank Jackie for establishing such a newspaper and giving me a chance to fall in love with journalism.”

Voice staff work on the paper's anniversary edition in the campus newsroom. The newspaper published its first issue on Jan. 31, 2010. (Photo and caption courtesy of Jackie Spinner.)

Spinner, marking the milestone: “The Voice students are so completely genuine about their desire to remain independent, to produce good journalism. They really have set a new standard for journalism in Iraq, especially in the area where AUI-S is located. And the newspaper is still here. After a year, the students are still writing and shooting video and photos and trying to break news. They’re still trying to hold the university accountable and trying to tell great stories fairly and objectively, without the bias you see in so many other publications.”

Read about the Voice’s founding in the exclusive CMM series posted last April-May.

Part One || Part Two || Part Three || Part Four || Part Five || Part Six

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  1. […] Iraq's 'Voice of Independence' Celebrates First Birthday « College … Iraq's 'Voice of Independence' Celebrates First Birthday February 1, 2011 by Dan. In late January 2010, a small, but determined group of students and an impassioned faculty adviser carved out a place in Iraqi journalism history. […]



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