This young Valley Stream journalist to watch wins second Gracie Award


Broadcast journalism is well-known among industry insiders as a competitive, constantly evolving field whose on-air demands are nothing to scoff at. But neither is the talented work of this up-and-coming journalist, who — weeks shy of finishing graduate school at Hofstra University— has impressed media industry judges yet again.

Fatima Moien, 23, can now officially include “two-time Gracie Award winner,” on her list of early-career achievements on her resume, which she’ll surely be sending out soon.

The Gracie Award, from the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, is as much a national show of praise to the top women in journalism as it is for those with enormous promise. Moien falls squarely in the latter.

Her most recent Gracie is for a radio segment interview last May with Sheetal Sheth, a multi-hyphenated film star. The roughly 15-minute “in-depth conversation” would eventually air on the university’s campus radio station, WRHU-FM, on its long-running women’s topic talk show “A League of our Own.”

“The female staff members interview primarily 99 percent of female guests about a wide range of women’s topics,” said the university’s radio producer John T. Mullen. “We’ve done episodes covering all sorts of different topics from breast cancer to breaking the glass ceiling to overcoming the adversities of single motherhood.”

Moien said the parallels between her and Sheth were clear from the start of the conversation.

“When you listen to the interview, it’s just two Southeast Asian women relating from two different generations,” both with American immigrant upbringings, said Moien.

Moien was born in Pakistan but mostly raised in Queens and Valley Stream. Sheeth is a first-generation Indian American raised in New Jersey. Both are cut from the same gutsy, career-driven cloth and share a common mission to show “brown girls” they are seen and have their stories told in a media and entertainment sector where their representation remains far from mainstream.


A name worth remembering

But the process hasn’t been easy.

“Sheetal spoke a lot about her name being mispronounced and Hollywood not accepting her,” said Moien. “I deal with my name being an issue and have been told many times that if I want a valid career in journalism, I need to change the way I look or speak.”

Doubts about whether communities will accept her as an on-air reporter still plague her mind.

Growing up amid the wave of anti-Muslim sentiment in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, Moien said she was raised to expect profiling from the outside world and prejudicial bullying from her peers in class. That experience moved her to one day become an FBI agent in the hopes of challenging Muslim stereotypes. After graduating with a degree in criminal justice from John Jay College in 2022, she was well on track to do just that.

But then, in 2020, after news of a White Minneapolis police officer had kneeled on the neck of a Black man, George Floyd, leading to his untimely death, jolted the public’s consciousness about race, Moien found herself jolted too. It came in the form of a sudden career swerve into broadcast journalism where Moien aimed to witness injustice and tell the stories of marginalized individuals through a camera, a writing pad, and her voice.

She hasn’t let up thanks in large part to the supportive hands of her professors and mentors through the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and WRHU-FM. Her latest accolade is also in her eyes a triumphant signal that she’s heading in the right direction.

And while there is much pressure to tick certain boxes to advance in your career in broadcast journalism where “your image and your first job is everything,” noted Moien, she’s not afraid to take the unbeaten path to succeed.

“I’m in this place right now where I’m a few weeks from graduating and I don’t feel myself going the traditional route into the industry,” said Moien. “Breaking out of the mold is scary and risky, but that’s the way to go about it. Using Sheetal’s motto: ‘Don’t settle at a table. Make your own table.’ I want to make my own table.”

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