Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ayza Omar at NYC in Focus

This is Ayza Omar's bio-profile from NYC in Focus:
Ayza Omar took a roundabout route to the world of journalism. A native of Lahore, Pakistan, Omar graduated from that country’s Punjab University with a bachelor’s degree in finance. She says she’s always seen herself as an entrepreneur, and could easily have joined her family’s wholesale upholstery business, but first she wanted to do something on her own.

Of the jobs she considered, journalism seemed an especially unlikely candidate: It paid less than her other options, and Omar rarely ever picked up a newspaper. Still, she was attracted to reporting because it’s “one job where you never get bored because you’re always learning,” she says.

Omar quickly discovered she had a talent for broadcasting, and became the primary anchor and reporter for the state of Punjab at the Dawn News Network. Dawn News represents an innovation in Pakistan—it’s the country’s first 24-hour news channel broadcasting in English. Along with her other duties, Omar hosted a weekly current affairs show produced by a team of the network’s reporters. She later became an associate producer, writer and anchor for a traveling info-tainment show focusing on food. After only three years in the broadcasting business, she was on track to expand her producing role with Dawn News before leaving to hone her craft at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Now living in New York City, Omar enjoys working out and reading, though she may have a harder time indulging her tastes for horseback riding and badminton. She hopes to eventually cover foreign policy stories focusing on both the U.S. and Pakistan. Still an entrepreneur, she hopes to start a company to handle outsourcing of documentary filmmaking. Even after hosting her own show, she calls herself a novice. She hopes Columbia will allow her to trade that label for a title she wants to earn: reporter.

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