For Kyana Moghadam, stories are a way to understand the world. Who gets to tell the story is just an important as the story itself, she says. That’s why her work focuses on audio and oral histories. “For me, that’s the closest you can get to what it’s like to sit with someone and listen to them talk,” she says.
Kyana came to journalism in a “roundabout way.” After graduating from Sarah Lawrence in 2009 with a BA in writing and cultural anthropology, she went on to complete a Master’s degree at Columbia University in oral history in 2014. She spent the year completing an oral history project about the Iranian diaspora, which explored the immigrant experience with a focus on language and identity.
Her work was influenced by her own relationship with Iran, where half of her family is from. International media coverage, which often portrays the country negatively, didn’t fit with her own experience. So she wanted to find a way to tell a different kind of story about Iran. She began with a focus on her own family, then expanded to include more experiences.
Since then, Kyana has worked on a diverse range of projects, from a show on soccer and politics for Al Jazeera to archival work for Democracy Now. No matter the topic, she is always looking for ways to help readers and listeners connect with history and current events. She believes personal stories from the people who lived these events are the way to do so. She’s approaching her reporting from Honduras the same way she approaches all her work: by focusing on listening to people on the ground who are experiencing these events every day.
– Anna-Catherine Brigida, Adelante Honduras Fellow, 2019