A Genuine Interest in People
During his undergraduate years, Christopher Alam ‘21 wasn’t exactly sure what occupation he wanted to pursue. He knew he enjoyed creative writing and had some journalism experience in high school, but when he joined the core staff in KDVS, the
student-run radio station at UC Davis, his interest in media was sparked. Alam hosted a show on the radio and published work on the station’s zines. “In my experience, it was the best thing at UC Davis, hands-down,” Alam said.
In addition to the radio, Alam spent two years as a media lab intern in Professor Suad Joseph’s lab. He was assigned to analyze biases in the New York Times archives and gained a deeper understanding of the importance of journalistic writing in advocacy and power checks. “Dr. Joseph was an amazing mentor. That [experience] really opened my eyes to the state of journalism and what’s considered acceptable in a supposedly prominent and leading liberal newspaper,” Alam said.
After graduation, Alam struggled to find a job for a year as the pandemic made the hunt challenging. With his previous experience in KDVS and as a media intern, Alam was inspired to venture into journalism, applying to San Francisco public radio station KQED’s many internship application cycles. He saw the position as a good start to become a writer, and it slowly became something he loved. “Purely by following my interests I ended up here. I did all the things I was interested in and saw what career that led me to, and that was journalism,” Alam said.
Presently, Alam is an intern in newscast reporting. He works on stories around the Bay Area, reporting to the KQED office in San Francisco. To date, Alam has been able to report on a wide range of issues, from homelessness to “killer robots” in the police force. He said he enjoys connecting with people, and in regards to journalism, Alam added that having “genuine interest in other people” is the basis of his work. The rapid turnaround of writing daily newscasts has taught Alam how to think quickly and get over his initial anxieties around being a rookie reporter.
“After talking to a wide range of people, you realize they are just human beings. Their title doesn’t matter; they’re just a person. If you can look at everyone as equals, you can approach anyone,” he said.
Aside from his internship at KQED, Alam is also involved in creating art and DJing. He draws and designs posters for his friends’ bands, sells prints, and has DJ’ed at small venues in the Bay Area. Alam is involved in the local artist community, and he said these passion projects allow him to exercise his creativity and give him a chance to explore his varied interests.
Alam now aims to be on the regular staff at KQED and to try his hand at producing. Even with the prospect of a full-time job, Alam doesn’t plan on abandoning his side projects anytime soon. “To me it makes more sense to do your interests and see where that leads. I think if you can help it, your job should be that thing you would be doing anyways,” he said.