Our alumni are really amazing and we want to share their achievements with the world! In the SPOTLIGHT this month is Despina Afentouli (ΜΑ International Journalism, 2004)
Can you tell me about your time at City?
I did my Master’s degree in International Journalism at “The City University London”, as it was then called.
I chose the broadcast (radio) path and I remember that every week, under the guidance of our professors, Mike Gandon and Christabel King, we had to prepare a radio package to be broadcasted live on City University’s radio station. It was a unique experience, as we were working as journalists under real pressure conditions. I also I gained work-experience at London Greek Radio and BBC Greek Division.
Many important journalists and experts taught us and visited the City University Department of Journalism, including Roy Greenslade and Mark Bryane from The Dart Europe.
I remember the international news professor, Roger Tooze and how his effective teaching approach made me re-consider my perception about the world.
My thesis supervisor Lis Howell provided me with a great moral and professional support.
Tell us about your journey in journalism?
After I graduated, I stayed in London for my doctoral research on the British Press at the British Library and gained work experience at CNN International. In 2006, I moved back to Athens to work on my Ph.D. thesis. Whilst also continuing to work as a journalist.
I worked for media, such as ANT1 TV, Τouristiki Agora magazine, and Economist-Intelligent Life magazine. I also served as a special advisor at the Press Office and Public Relations for the Ministry of Education, LongLife Learning and Religious Affairs in Greece.
Since 2012, I have taught as a professor in Journalism and Social Sciences for the Open University of Cyprus, the Technological Educational Institute of Athens, the Technological Educational Institute of Ionian Islands, the University of Wolverhampton/College of Professional Journalism – to name a few.
For about eight years, I served as a City Council Member of Dionyssos City and then, as a Regional Member of the Attica Region in Athens, Greece. I was the youngest and the only woman elected in the local parties I was a candidate with.
What has been the biggest challenge with regards to your idea/business?
The biggest challenge I faced as a journalist is working overseas. But this experience helped me to adjust quickly to new cultural environments, create context for international audiences and diverse communities, and build strong professional relationships.
What has been the most rewarding experience?
One of the most rewarding experiences was when I received my PhD degree in Sociology in 2010 and then, in 2012, when I published my doctoral thesis as a book entitled, “The position of the British Press in the Greek-Turkish relations, 1955-1965” in Greece.
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?
If I could give an advice, it would be this; be authentic, honest, fair, and objective to the best of your abilities. Time reveals the truth. Be the one who foresaw, discovered, and defended it.