Dorian Geiger

Producer, Al Jazeera Media Network

Bachelor of Journalism, 2013

I had to push myself to make myself stand out.

It was a tense time for Dorian Geiger. He was living in Doha, Qatar, working for Al Jazeera English. He had written most of a feature article for the website about three families in Hong Kong who had hidden the American whistleblower Edward Snowden. Other news organizations had reported about the families before, so Dorian knew he had to have something no one else had. He needed a comment from Edward Snowden himself.

“Obtaining an exclusive quote from Edward Snowden, albeit through his lawyer, was a daunting task,” says Dorian. “We had to wait months to make intermediary contact with one of the most elusive whistleblowers in the world.”

Dorian had been at Al Jazeera for only a few months. He had been hired as a video editor to adapt the network’s broadcast content for social media, particularly Facebook. It was an experiment for the network, and it was one that was paying off. By the end of March, the team had hit a staggering one hundred million views, five times higher than the previous best.

But he wanted more. Writing was in his blood. His reporting had been featured by The New York Times, VICE, TIME Magazine, Politico, Teen Vogue, Narratively, The Toronto Star, and others before he planted himself in Doha. His passion for written storytelling quickly led him to begin feature writing for Al Jazeera, as well.

“What really makes it work for me here is that I produce the packages for social media, then they let me work on feature stories for the website.”

He says his time at King’s gave him the tools to thrive in the Middle East.

“I needed someone to give me hell, to tell me in a constructive way how to be better,” he says. “King’s gave me the platform and discipline to hone my skills as a storyteller.”

After completing his Bachelor of Journalism at King’s in 2013, Dorian went to New York to pursue a master’s in journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. It was tough going at first. Many of his fellow international students were already experienced journalists from countries in turmoil.

“I realized how hard I had to work. I mean, [being] from Saskatchewan, I wrote about city council, not something like the Arab Spring uprising. I had to push myself to make myself stand out.”

That could be his mantra.

He stuck it out in New York landing a contract with TIME magazine working as breaking news video editor for the website. But, as he says, “I wasn’t being tested as much as I wanted to be.”

In the fall of 2016 he saw a posting for the job at Al Jazeera in Qatar. He applied and shortly after, packed a bag, and moved into a hotel in Doha.

And that’s how Dorian ended up writing about those families in Hong Kong, and chasing the elusive Edward Snowden. In the end, he succeeded; he had exclusive comments from the dissident, sent to him via Snowden’s lawyer. The story received significant traffic and was retweeted by Snowden himself.

“The Middle East is a stimulating place for any reporter,” he says, “and it has altered my career trajectory irrevocably.”

And he could add, for the better.

Follow Dorian on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with his adventures, as well as his latest reporting.

Posted: Apr. 2017

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