Name: Yelena Dzhanova

Major at Baruch College: BA in English, Political Science, and Journalism
Graduation Year: 2019
School within Baruch College: Weisman School of Arts and Sciences
Company and Title: News Reporter, Business Insider

1. Tell us about your organization and your role there.

I am a reporter normally focused on covering the Trump administration, 2020 elections, Congress, voting rights, and women’s issues. This role requires me to be adaptable and quick to react. One minute, I might be writing breaking news coming out of the White House. The next minute, I might be on the phone conducting an in-depth interview with a source. The minute after, I might transition into writing a longer piece that explains a complex topic or why it’s important. 

2. What made you interested in the field and what drives you in your current profession?

I love writing! But more than that, I love talking to and engaging with people. Being a journalist is a great way to learn more about people and the world. I speak to so many people doing jobs I’ve never heard of. It opens your eyes to the limitless possibilities already out there.

I think of journalism as a form of activism. I used to be heavily involved in community activism and organization. Throughout college, I worked on different political and social cause campaigns, and I thought I would end up working in a nonprofit. Journalism allows me to focus on the issues important to me and give voice to people who most need one. 

3. What were some unique challenges you faced in your professional career and how did you solve them?

It’s hard to cover the Trump administration. There’s a lot of vitriol for journalists that comes both in and out of the White House. The president’s rhetoric about the “fake news media” does not help. In fact, it seems to embolden his supporters, many of whom harass journalists — especially women — on the internet. I’ve been on the receiving end of that harassment nearly every day for a year and a half.

I haven’t solved this issue yet. I’ve tried a bunch of different approaches: ignoring the harassment and responding to it, namely. Ignoring it is sometimes effective but it doesn’t make it stop. I’ve engaged with harassers before. In some cases, I’ve tried to turn it into a teaching moment for them, talking to them about how it feels to be on the receiving end and why it’s an issue. That seemed to have helped some of the harassers understand. Most times, though, they just double down on it.

4. How was your experience at Baruch Like? How did Baruch Impact your life and career?

I cherish the memories I’ve made at Baruch. I was a very involved student, working in leadership roles across multiple organizations and really trying to work to make the school a better place for everyone attending. I was the editor-in-chief of The Ticker, Baruch’s student-run newspaper, in my junior and senior years. I went to all school events and made lots of friends, many of whom I’m in touch with and see regularly. I was also an executive peer mentor within TEAM Baruch, teaching and facilitating six or seven first-year and transfer classes. This role in particular taught me the importance of mentorship and giving back. It’s the reason why I’m an active mentor for current Baruch students.

I was scared there wouldn’t be anything for me to do at Baruch since it’s a business school and I actively avoided all things related to business. But I’ve been able to take advantage of the liberal arts and humanities options there, while heightening my ability to work efficiently and quickly — traits inherent to and important for business leaders.

5. What is one of your favorite memories you have from your time at Baruch?

There are many. I loved staying for hours after class to work on the newspaper. Sometimes we stayed until 2 a.m. to complete the production cycle and send it off to the printers. It was always exhilarating and fun to work with people so passionate about doing the best work they can. 

7. What is some advice can you give to current Baruch students and alumni about working in field of your profession?

Don’t be afraid to talk to people. Ask them about their experiences, their interests, and their dislikes. You can learn a lot about not just other people but also about the world around you and yourself. 

8. How can people contact you? (Social Media, LinkedIn, Email)

LinkedIn - Yelena Dzhanova

Twitter - @YelenaDzhanova

Email - [email protected]