A Liberal Arts Education Prepared Dow Jones News Fund Intern Shaheer Naveed (SF23) to Pursue Business Journalism
September 8, 2023 | By Andrew Wice
For any aspiring business reporter, earning an internship with the Dow Jones News Fund would be a promising start to a career in journalism. Founded by editors of the Wall Street Journal, the prestigious media training program provides college and graduate students around the country with paid newsroom internships and has been coveted for over 60 years. But for recipient Shaheer Naveed (SF23), who spent this past summer at Albuquerque Business First, the achievement crowned a long—and at times challenging—journey.
Naveed, a top student at his high school in Pakistan, completed news internships at organizations like social research giant Gallup and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) while still in his teens. When it came time for college, a guidance counselor steered him toward studying abroad in the United States. Naveed decided on St. John’s College in Santa Fe, but he struggled while adjusting to his new surroundings.
“I don’t know how to sugarcoat it—it was a tough time,” he recalls. “Coming to Santa Fe from Islamabad, I think a big part was that not a lot of people look like me here. That was really different. [And] it was my first time going away from my family and living alone at age 19.”
When COVID-19 shut down schools and businesses in 2020, Naveed had to return to Pakistan while continuing to take St. John’s classes virtually—some starting at 5 a.m. due to the time difference. After completing his sophomore year online, he was able to return to Santa Fe for his final two years on campus. That’s when he says the school’s interdisciplinary Program finally started clicking for him. Naveed credits tutors in Santa Fe like Sarah Davis (who’s now the campus dean) with helping him through the academic challenges of junior year by illuminating subjects like mathematics through class discussions on greats like Isaac Newton and Richard Dedekind. Surviving that crucible, business journalism emerged as his future calling as he continued interning throughout college at outlets like the Philadelphia Citizen and the Broad Street Review, a Philadelphia arts and culture website.
“I have always had a curiosity about how and why businesses grow,” Naveed says. “And on the other end, how and why they falter. I found it interesting that we could learn so much about an entity through numbers. But then there’s the face, or faces, behind the numbers [that] make a business or entity what it is. I love connecting numbers and success with people.”
Naveed’s liberal arts coursework helped him hone other skills that prove as valuable in a newsroom as in a classroom: writing, analyzing text, critical thinking, and learning how to productively talk with others. “The Program really tests you with every text that you read,” he reflects. “You learn something new every day, whether that be through books, discussions, or the rigorous work environment. By the end of St. John’s, I was sure that I could tackle anything and come out stronger.”
Still, Naveed was anxious about pursuing the Dow Jones News Fund internship as a foreign student during his senior year at St. John’s, and he gives full credit to campus career advisor Charles Bergman and Piér Quintana, assistant director of the Santa Fe campus’s Office of Personal and Professional Development, for giving him the push he needed to apply. Being accepted last November, he says, validated years of perseverance.
“I was absolutely ecstatic,” Naveed says. “This is the biggest … moment in my life. A huge opportunity. I was very emotional about it because I’ve worked super hard. For international students, it’s not a walk in the park. And to be able to get this opportunity was a really proud moment for me.”
According to Naveed, freedom of the press is not well-supported in Pakistan. For all the challenges it’s presented, the United States has become his home—and where he intends to continue his career. “The U.S., especially Dow Jones, allowed me to explore journalism with freedom,” he says. “I could chase stories knowing that the law supports my endeavors. And with the right mentoring, I have matured as a journalist a lot faster than I thought.”
But wherever his chosen path takes him, Naveed says he will carry his hard-won education from St. John’s College—and all the possibilities it presented him—like a talisman. “What I really liked about St. John's,” he concludes, “was that I could start things on my own. It provided me with a blank canvas. It allowed me, if I wasn’t finding an opportunity for myself, to just create one.”