Lindork’s Lists: Q&A #17: Nahreman Issa
Originally published to newsletter subscribers on Nov 14, 2021
The seventeenth person I’m profiling in my paid newsletter subscriber Q&A series is:
CTV Edmonton Noon News Anchor & Morning Live Reporter Nahreman Issa
Getting to know Nahreman Issa:
Nahreman Issa is a news anchor and reporter for CTV Edmonton who I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for years. Our work paths crossed briefly when I worked at CTV as well (feels like ages ago—readers may not realize I used to be a journalist!)
I was always so impressed with Nahreman’s work ethic—and loved how unapologetically into sports she was (lol!) I also appreciated the diversity Nahreman was bringing into traditional newsrooms.
When Nahreman started posting photos of her anchor outfits on social media, I loved to follow along. As she writes below, posting fashionable outfits in a bigger body helps show others you don’t need to be a typical size to look good. And when Nahreman shares some nasty viewer messages she gets—comments that often criticize her looks—she does so to remind people constructive criticism is different than just being plain mean and we need to shut down the mean people out there.
I think Nahreman breaks a lot of stereotypes in many of the things she does—women are allowed to be avid sports fans, bigger bodies do look fashionable, and someone who reads the news or reporters on camera does not have to look a specific way.
Let’s Dive Into the Q&A with Nahreman:
Can you talk about the work you do as an anchor and reporter? As well as the journey to get to your current position (small town work, sports reporting, etc.)
I have a hybrid shift as I report and anchor on the same day. It is a jam packed day where you are constantly working! I start work at 4:30 am. When I get to the station I start working on my live hits for the morning. I write and edit my own stuff. I go live three to four times in the morning, plus the possibility of going live for Newschannel (our 24/7 channel based in Toronto). I am out in the community going live for these hits.
After, I head back to the station where I get ready for the noon show. I help build the show so that means picking the stories that go in, changing up the leads into scripts and writing teases to upcoming stories. I also anchor the segment that airs in central Alberta.
I joined NAIT’s Radio & Television program in 2007. I was hired as a writer for CTV Edmonton in the summer of 2008. I stayed with CTV for four years before moving to Lloydminster in 2012 to pursue an on-camera position. That was the ultimate goal; to be on-air.
Starting off in a small town is best if you want to be on camera. It’s great practice before heading to a bigger station. I was in Lloyd for four years where I went from a news reporter & anchor to anchoring the main show and late night sports. Being a sports reporter was the initial goal but I have since transitioned to news.
What’s something that people might know about, that may be surprising about working as a news anchor, or a reporter, or in the news industry?
I think people assume working in TV is glamorous. So many people think our station has a hair and makeup person. We do not! I do my hair the night before and I do my makeup at 3am.
In this industry, you deal with all kinds of news. Good and bad news… and sometimes the bad news just hits you really hard. You go home thinking about it.
Media is high paced. You are constantly working against the clock. You have to make sure you get the job done quickly but accurately. And most reporters and anchors eat their lunch at their desk.
I love that you share your outfits! Can you talk about why you do this?
I have a love for fashion and I get to dress up for work so I thought it would be nice to share some of the looks with others. But I was surprised by the reaction it got. People really seem to enjoy seeing what I wear! I think a lot of it has to do with the fact I am in a bigger body and for some, seeing fashionable outfits on a bigger body is something they never see. I realized by sharing my outfits, I can show people you don’t need to be straight sized to be able to look and dress nicely.
I also appreciate that you share criticisms you get—I think it really shows people this side of journalism that they may not realize. Is that why you share some of those negative messages? Also, how do you deal with negative comments or messages? How do you manage mental health in news?
I share certain negative comments because it’s important to show just some of the vitriol there is out there. But I don’t share the obvious troll comments.
I think there is a lot to learn when you share horrible comments. We need to shut down these people who think it’s okay to be rude. There is a difference between constructive criticism and just being mean.
I can’t stand when people say just ignore the trolls or you need thick skin to be in this business. I can handle that crap, but why should they get a pass from their behaviour?
I’ve had viewers email me to say that I am saying a certain word wrong and I have no issue with that. But when it comes to “You look fat on the news desk” I will not allow that. Call that crap out.
Can you share some memorable moments or ‘successes’ for one (or more) in your journalism / media journey?
My most favourite moment was when I got to cover the Oilers playoff run in 2017. I always wanted to cover the Oilers. My very first live hit was at Ford Hall previewing the game (We didn’t have live capabilities at the station in Lloydminster). I remember just standing there, realizing my dream came true. I would go into scrums, write up stories on them and it was a really good couple of months.
Can you share challenging moments, obstacles or even failures, you’ve had to overcome as a journalist?
One frustrating part is trying to overcome stigmas of women in sports reporting. I will say that my experiences with fans and teams have been positive for the most part… but I know it’s a major issue for other women.
You are, I think one of very few local BIPOC, women who work in media. Can you share any thoughts on diversity and inclusion, or why there should be diversity in news?
I think representation is so important in every aspect of life. Especially in the media. Diverse voices are necessary. It changes the way we look at different parts of life.
I grew up wanting to be a reporter but back then, I had no one to look up to for inspiration. I didn’t think this was even an option for me. We have a saying in the Arabic culture that basically translates to “This isn’t for us”. I always assumed that was the case when it came to being a tv reporter or anchor. But I grew up watching the news with my parents and decided, I will just pave the way for myself. And now I have other Arabic people telling me how proud they are to see a Lebanese, Muslim woman on TV.
Diversity brings a different point of view, a different way to look at things– and provides a voice for people who may not have the chance to speak up.
Can you share advice for others who might be interested in working in the news, media, or storytelling in general?
It’s a fantastic job but it’s not an easy one. But it’s amazing all the people you get to meet, and the stories you get to share with others.
First things, make sure you are following the news. Follow credible news outlets, see how other reporters write their stories. You can be inspired by their work but make sure you do it in your style.
I was the sports editor at the NAIT Nugget and I always advocated for other TV people to join. It helps with your writing and interview skills.
These days you need to be trained on everything. Be willing to learn every single news position even if you just want to be on air. That means learning to shoot, edit, produce, assignment desk etc.
Could you articulate “why you do what you do?” Why are you passionate about news? Storytelling? anchoring/ reporting? Sports?
I grew up reading the newspaper and watching the news. I was always a great reader as a kid. I was constantly reading books. I was always comfortable talking to a crowd, cracking jokes and having fun. Storytelling is a big part of reporting and it was just a perfect fit.
As for my love of sports, I grew up in a family of eight kids; seven girls and one boy! My dad put my brother in almost every sport and I would go and watch sometimes. He put us girls in soccer and used to ref and so we were always immersed in sports. It just stuck with me.
On the day I was born, my dad wasn’t home because he was out with buddies watching wrestling haha. I’m not a wrestling fan but it’s fitting it had to do with a sport.
Can you tell me about your hobbies! What do you for fun? What do you do when you’re not doing media things?
My hobbies surround sports. I am a die hard Oilers fan. I will accommodate my schedule around their games haha. I have season tickets so I get to watch them in person most nights. I will also fly to watch them somewhere in the season or head to Toronto to watch my Blue Jays (that’s my baseball team). If I’m not watching sports, I’m playing them. I am on a ball hockey and slo-pitch team.
My other hobby is shopping. I can spend hours at the mall or Winners. That is usually my cardio lol.
I’ve also done standup comedy several times. I’ve only done competitions against other media folk but hoping to one day go to an actual club and perform.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your work professionally, personally, or anything that I’ve missed?
I alway joke that I work in news and am an Oilers fan all while being sober! Do you know how hard it is some days haha! It also takes a special person to wake up at 2:50 am to go to work.
Reporters can get a bad wrap in the public, but we are people who work all hours, constantly dealing with heavy storylines, having to move away from home at some point– all so we can make sure the public is informed on what is happening locally, nationally and internationally.
Wrapping up our Q&A:
What show would you recommend people watch on Netflix (or other streaming services) and why?
I’m currently binging Sons of Anarchy (I know, so late to the game here) but it’s so good. I also love Schitt’s Creek and everyone needs to watch that. Next show I will watch is Ted Lasso (I hear the best things about it!)
Is there a book or podcast you recently read (or doesn’t have to be recent) that you would recommend to others and why?
What is one of your favourite restaurants or stores you’d recommend in Edmonton?
What’s something about Alberta you love or recommend others check out?
- Well right now the best part is when Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl connect on a goal… I’m not even joking lol! As for something someone should check out—head to the Walterdale Bridge. Walk it or get on a scooter (I refuse to try one lol). But I like to set up a picnic blanket on the hill facing the Walterdale. I’ve gone on dates there, picnics and have just went alone to read a book. It’s the best view in Edmonton besides an Oilers goal.
Thank you Nahreman for sharing your story!
You can connect with Nahreman on:
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