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Online News Association Student Representative Aiyana Ishmael speaks her Truth

November 9, 2020
By Sterling Bright

Aiyana IshmaelFor transfer students it can sometimes feel overwhelming. However, for School of Journalism and Graphic Communication student Aiyana Ishmael she instead hit the ground running. Ishmael, who came from Miami-Dade College, in a short time has made a name for herself as a successful student journalist which has caused professionals and peers to take notice.

“First I felt like I had less time. You want to make a name for yourself. I came from a program that had a really great newspaper and I was always working harder and once I got to FAMU I was just motivated to work hard, and I wanted to make myself proud ,” Ishmael said.

Ishmael currently serves as the Student Representative for the Online News Association. This position gives her the pleasure of holding the only student seat on their Board while giving her a voice on ONA and being a voice for young black journalists.

Recently Ishmael was given the opportunity to produce a panel for ONA which showcased the views of student journalist and even featured Ishmael as well as three other students from across the country. The panel came to fruition because of Ishmael’s work in her internship with the Poynter Institute. During that internship Ishmael wrote a daring article titled, “In 20 years I’m going to run your newsroom”. During that article she discusses several problems with the journalism industry including diversity and inclusion, unpaid internships and more. Ishmael through that story wanted to convey a story that highlighted the factors that as she said, “keep black people out of the newsroom.”

“I like to tell stories and I like to tell the stories that matter. That’s why I got into journalism,” said Ishmael.

The panel was led by Ishmael and she was the brainchild for controlling the conversation and even recruiting the students that took part in the panel discussion. Ishmael was truly in her element with this panel and in her position with ONA because she thrives in leadership roles. She loves working to guide and help other students and even went on to discuss how she loves being there as a resource because for her, “there is space for all of us at the top.”

Ishmael since being at FAMU has had several internships and has held the title of Editor In Chief for the famous Journey Magazine. That position is preparing her for the future as she plans to be an EIC for a major magazine.

For Ishmael, her character is of the upmost and is constantly working at her craft. Although her Mother is her highest example of inspiration, she also looks to Lindsey Peoples Wagner, EIC of Teen Vogue. Ishmael hopes to somewhat follow in Wagner’s footsteps and discusses how having someone that looks like you are such an inspiration, especially with how she speaks out against injustice and for her people. Ishmael hopes to not only achieve all her goals but tell the meaningful stories and open doors for her people in the process.