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Industry Highlights: Alumni in Media & Communications

17 August 2020
Sarah Bagharib
Sarah Bagharib,
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Communication and Media Studies 2011

The Industry Highlights series feature fellow alumni on a journey of their careers in various industries, sectors, and stories behind the scene. Find out more about our growing domestic and international community of over 70,000 Alumni through unique stories and experiences.

Murdoch Singapore alumnus Sarah Bagharib found her calling working with an international medical humanitarian aid organisation.

Personally inspired by her father, Sarah found her interest in media brewing at young age. We caught up with her to find out a little more…

What did you study at Murdoch? What do you do now?

I did a double major in Journalism and Communications and Media Studies! I currently work for the international medical humanitarian aid organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders as a communications officer based in Singapore. I also founded a media platform and community called Crazycat for everyday women to inspire, support, and empower them to embrace their unique strengths and shine.

Prior to this I was a documentary producer-director and have worked on a wide range of programmes, from hard-hitting current affairs for Al Jazeera to a series on contemporary artists for Bloomberg TV.

What do you think is Murdoch’s point of difference compared with other universities?

I really appreciate the diversity at Murdoch – students and staff from various nationalities and backgrounds make up the wonderful Murdoch community.

What drew you to working in the media sector? Any particular intriguing experiences you would like to share?

My dad has worked in the media industry all his professional life and I grew up being exposed to its inner workings –– both the editorial and technological side of it. I remember being intrigued by the power of the media as a platform and tool for the dissemination of information, as well as the process behind who and what determines how those pieces of information are shared.

So I’ve always known that I’d like to work in the media sector but it was only until my final year in university that I solidified my purpose in lending my voice for the voiceless through journalism and storytelling. My experience at Murdoch has definitely helped shape that and I’ll always be grateful for it!

It was 2011 when I was in my final year at university and we were only a few years into the advent of social media and the digital age then. I started experimenting with making videos and using platforms like YouTube and Vimeo and even worked on a side project with a good friend and fellow Murdoch alumni called WWUD (https://vimeo.com/wwud). We had a lot of fun with it and that actually helped me figure out that I really did enjoy being “in the field”/ “on the ground” so when I returned to Singapore, I applied for an internship at Channel NewsAsia (CNA) in hopes that I’d be able to work towards being a reporter. The internship happened, but the career path never materialised! I ended up being behind the camera instead and started my career in documentary production as a researcher a few months after I’d graduated from Murdoch.

I think one of my most intriguing experiences to date has to be the time I went undercover to film at detention centres across Indonesia to uncover and expose the appalling living conditions and treatment of asylum seekers and refugees in the country for a documentary. I was 23 and it felt like such a badass thing to do until my passport was almost confiscated — that wasn’t fun at all! But thankfully everything turned out well eventually and the documentary we made went on to win international awards.

I spent five years in documentary production before I decided to shift to the other side of the media industry and go into communications.

What have been some of the big changes in your line of work in recent years? How do you foresee the role of the media in the future?

I guess the big changes have always included the introduction of even newer technologies into the media space like AI, and I think one other notable change is the use and importance of building communities as part of the consumer and/or audience engagement. I think media companies that are thriving now are the ones that have a really strong community and digital presence.

Moving forward I think the role of the media has to be one that is collaborative with consumers and one that is able to provide them with actual, tangible experiences.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

My ex-boss told me to always trust and follow my gut and instinct in everything that I do. That’s something I find myself referring to a lot in various situations and circumstances, be it personally or professionally.

Who inspires you?

My daughter –– she’s now a year old and her birth had renewed my sense of purpose. I’m now incredibly inspired to do all that I can to make sure that she lives and grows up in a much better world.

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