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.