“My motto is ‘just say yes’,” says Samuelle – Sam – Mednick. Pragmatic and direct, Sam has spent her career following stories across the world.
“I never loved school,” says Sam of her high school years in Toronto, “So a general BA would not have been right for me. I needed something with more focus.”
A love of writing led her to apply to journalism schools across the country. When she saw King’s, “I knew that was it. The quad had a warm feeling and the campus wasn’t overwhelmingly large or scary.”
Sam’s spirit of adventure flourished when she came to King’s. “It’s a small community,” she explains. “You can put yourself out there and take a chance on things. You don’t have to be a certain way. It’s very liberating.”
Sam says that although the Foundation Year Program was “not really me, I enjoyed the books and it forced me to read and think in a certain way.” She loved that she could tailor her degree and do a double honours in journalism and law, health, and English. And when she found out that she could spend a semester in Fiji running her own radio show as part of an exchange program, her response was “why not?”
Through her studies and her work in Fiji, Sam discovered a passion for interviewing. “I love speaking to people, understanding their context, listening, and asking good follow-up questions. It’s something King’s taught me well.”
After graduating, Sam continue to travel the world, diving into stories of conflict and humanitarian crises. “I’m interested in looking at the human impact of war and conflict in places that are underreported,” she says. From 2017 to 2019, she was as the Associated Press correspondent for South Sudan, where she covered stories of human rights abuses arising during the civil war as well as well as the beginning of the peace process.
Sam appreciates the role that journalists can play in situations of crisis and injustice. “You’re able in some way to hold people accountable and to shed light on situations that aren’t getting a lot of coverage.”
Although she enjoyed the mobility of shorter trips to cover stories abroad from her base in Barcelona, Sam realized that she wanted to immerse herself in the context of the places she was writing about.
“The longer you stay somewhere the more you understand things; the more people you meet, the more you learn, the more you understand the nuances of the situation. It’s never what it appears to be at the beginning.”
Sam’s drive to follow human stories has taken her all over the world. Over the last few years, she has lived and worked in Argentina, Lebanon, Iraq, Burundi, Ghana, South Sudan, Spain and Burkina Faso, to name but a few.
“When I think back, King’s helped me to understand different perspectives and different walks of life. I learned about ethics and patience, honed my interviewing and writing skills, and I made friends with people I am still friends with. And it gave me confidence that I could be who I wanted to be.”
See Sam’s broadcasting and print work on her website.
Updated: Aug. 2020