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An American journalist in Turkey

Updated: Jul 19, 2021

Pence took this photo during her co-op in Istanbul, Turkey. Contributed photo.

(News @ Northeastern) – Ever since Audrey Pence arrived at North­eastern, she has been inter­ested in learning more about the world. One mech­a­nism she has used to get to know dif­ferent people and places is journalism.

This past spring Pence, SSH’17, an Inter­na­tional Affairs major, worked on co-​​op at the Fuller Project for Inter­na­tional Reporting, a non­profit news orga­ni­za­tion based in Turkey that was founded ear­lier this year. While there, Pence wrote a number of sto­ries, cov­ering issues ranging from bride kid­nap­ping to the 100th anniver­sary of the Armenian Genocide.

“I went out into the streets with a Turkish co-​​worker and got quotes from people for a story on the Armenian Geno­cide, and we got that pub­lished on CNN International’s web­site,” Pence explained. “That was one I got a shared byline on, which was really exciting.”

Audrey Pence in Turkey. Contributed photo.

One of the first sto­ries she cov­ered focused on a Syrian jour­nalist living in southern Turkey and writing an under­ground news­paper for Syr­ians, using reports from people still in that country. “We had to be extremely careful when writing that story when it came to names and loca­tions,” Pence noted.

Founded by jour­nalist Christina Asquith, the Fuller Project com­prises a mul­ti­media team that focuses its reporting on the under­rep­re­sented role of women in the region. In addi­tion to reporting, Pence got an inside look at what it takes to build a non­profit from the ground up. She saw Asquith craft her mis­sion state­ment and build her web­site, and she wrote funding pro­posals for sto­ries that Asquith wanted to cover.

Pence also saw what life is like as a free­lance jour­nalist, helping Asquith report on sto­ries that appeared in an array of pub­li­ca­tions, from The New York Times to Elle Mag­a­zine. “It’s inter­esting to see as a free­lancer that your story has to fit into someone else’s mold instead of you cre­ating your own mold while being part of an estab­lish­ment,” Pence said.

One of Pence’s biggest take­aways from the co-​​op was real­izing that she could per­son­ally thrive while living abroad. On her next co-​​op, Pence said she hopes to work in a U.S. embassy or con­sulate abroad.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people who are for­eign offi­cers and seen the work they do and many have said they are all very much gen­er­al­ists rather than spe­cial­ists, which is some­thing I really iden­tify with; being able to take dif­ferent lessons from all around the world and applying them,” Pence said.

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