It has not been long since Laila Ahmed started working as a journalist, but the quality and diversity of her journalistic output proves that she wants to follow a different path that distinguishes her from others. At a time when she is searching for success stories, she herself has become a success story.
Laila says that the most important thing in her journalistic work is to be accurate in the information she delivers to the readers, and most importantly, to covey the voices of the marginalized, those whose voices are not heard and digs deep for their stories.
Laila, correspondent for KirkukNow in Kirkuk province, Garmian administration of Sulaymaniyah Northern Province, Khanaqin of Diyala and Tuz Khurmatu of Salahaddin, visited the German city of Berlin at the end of June until the beginning of July, at the invitation of the German Foreign Ministry, as part of her participation in an eight-month media workshop organized by the Taz Panther Foundation.
Laila entered the field of journalism in 2016, at first she volunteered to work as an informant and she used to send pictures and information to several media organizations, but since 2017 she has devoted a large part of her life to media, after participating in a journalism course organized by (KirkukNow) Foundation.
"After I participated in that course, I decided to work for (KirkukNow). I believed that they present their pieces professionally, and indeed they are. I have been working in this institution for 6 years," says Laila.
The first journalistic work that Layla did for KirkukNow was not easy, she says, given that she was at the beginning of her career, but she says that she ventured and faced the challenges that came her way, and her report won the award for the best report on human rights that year.
The report prepared by Laila Ahmed was a press follow-up on a battle between the Iraqi forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga (fighter) forces in the Tuz Khurmatu district, which ended with the Iraqi forces taking control of the district and the Peshmerga withdrawing from it. At least 20 people were killed from both sides, hundreds of families were displaced and tens of houses were demolished and looted.
In her follow-up, Laila recounted the stories of the aftermath of the confrontations, the killing of civilians, the targeting of women and children, and the displacement of residents. After that, she decided to dedicate part of her work to the issue of the displaced in the region in general.
“Children, women, displaced people, and now environmental issues are among the priorities of my work, but sometimes I prepare political reports at the request of my media organization,” Laila adds.
“I seek through my reports to give priority to people, start with their stories, so that their voice makes an impact. I think this is an effective method that reaches the concerned authorities faster.”
Within three years, Laila won the award for the best journalistic report twice in the field of human rights, as well as the award for the best story about the time of Corona in Garmian in 2021.
Laila says that she wants to make the voice of the marginalized heard, and this is the strength of her work. Laila points out that this point "was one of the reasons for her winning the awards," expressing her thanks for the support she received from her institution and her colleagues.
(Dawn that Komari neighborhood of Tuz Khurmatu fell) and the report (Kirkuk: Child Abandonment, an Endless Story) are the two reports for which Laila Ahmed received awards and considers them to be among the best reports she has completed. The violence that a man committed against his wife during the outbreak of the Corona virus and the home quarantine was among the reports for which Laila received an award.
In 2022, Layla, representing KirkukNow, was chosen to participate in a journalism course by Taz Panther on how to cover success stories and issues of violence against women and children. After that, she visited Germany to see the work of media institutions in Germany and some of her reports were translate into English and German.
In 2023, the same institution organized an eight-month workshop on environmental issues. Laila participated again in the course and prepared and published dozens of reports on environmental issues for this institution.
On June 25, 2023, Laila visited Germany again and spoke at the German Foreign Ministry about environmental problems, their effects, and the risks of climate change, including the decline in groundwater levels, drought, the evacuation of villages, and the spread of litter.
Her presence in various courses and her constant search for new methods of work is further evidence of this lady's dedication to her work.
"I want to learn more, to be aware of changes and new methods of journalistic work," says Laila.
At the beginning of June 2023, Laila proved in a report that waste is mixed with water sources in the Garmian region, because the local administration was not collecting waste in a scientific and hygienic manner, but a week after the publication of the report, the government announced a new mechanism for collecting and removing waste.
"When the government and the concerned authorities start looking for solutions to the problems that I present in my reports, then I feel that I have recorded a success story... I want to continue on this way and learn more."