Telum Talks To: Fares Hassan from SBS Arabic24

Telum Talks To: Fares Hassan from SBS Arabic24

By Cindy Paskalina Kweesar

Telum Media spoke to Fares Hassan from SBS Arabic24, about his unconventional start to journalism and how his team represents the Arabic-speaking community in Australia.

What does a typical day look like for you as a Senior Producer / Journalist at SBS Arabic24 and the Host of Good Morning Australia?
I start my workday at 4am with a long black coffee. I then go through the latest local and international news, planned-live-interviews, and talkback topics. At 6am sharp, I go down to the studio, listen to the first locally produced Arabic news bulletin of the day, and then kick off a 3-hour show with an Acknowledgment of Country. Afterwards, we have our daily editorial meeting to plan digital stories to be published on the SBS Arabic24 website and social media platforms. 

You began your career as a Broadcast Engineer. How did you transition into editorial roles?
Engineering has played a significant role in my career as a journalist and radio presenter. While not a traditional path to journalism, I owe my technical and problem-solving skills to engineering. I may have pursued a career that's not directly related to my degree, but my perspective on life has been shaped through the lens of engineering, positively influencing my approach to creative reporting. A strong foundation in science and technology is crucial to understanding the context of cybersecurity and other technology-related topics whose importance is on the rise in Australia and across the globe. 

What's your favourite part about working in radio?
My favourite part about radio is the variety, and the unique stories I get to narrate. No two days are alike! I value how people trust me with their stories, so I'm determined to craft them in the best way possible. It's hard to choose just one favourite story, but I'll always remember working on Racism Within with my colleague, Hana Yassin. In this podcast, we uncovered a face of racism otherwise invisible and rarely talked about in the media. 

What unique challenges or considerations arise when producing programmes for Arabic-speaking Australians?
The Arabic-speaking audience in Australia comprises communities of over 20 countries, with each having its own political spectrum, history of migration to Australia, and settlement struggles. The challenge is to make sure everyone's voice is heard and to navigate the uncharted territory of conflicts while maintaining the impartiality and balance that's integral to what we do on a daily basis.

What are your thoughts on the importance of providing a platform for minority and multicultural voices in media?
Nearly a third of Australia's population was born overseas, according to recent numbers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. About 22 (percent) of Australians speak a language other than English at home. Therefore, it's embedded in the core mission of SBS to give a voice to multicultural communities because their stories matter and need to be heard and understood by the broader community to strengthen our sense of belonging - treating each other with respect and compassion. We can only break stereotypical assumptions by telling these stories. 

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Fares Hassan

Journalist / Senior Producer / Radio Host

Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) SBS Arabic24

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