When Nicole Behnam was 15, she joined the school newspaper and discovered that journalism was one of her passions. To take her passion one step further, she called Brentwood Media Group, a company that publishes six community newsmagazines with a circulation of over 50,000 in many neighborhoods of West Los Angeles, and sought a job there.
Upon being hired as the youngest intern of the company, Nicole decided she wanted to write her own column, but figured they wouldn’t allow her, a 15-year old at the time, to write more than just a few lines.
She received a call back from the owner of the publication, who was very impressed with the quality of her work, and thus, offered Nicole her very own column.
What was she going to write? For her that meant: What is she curious about? What does she think is important? What does she think people should know about? Simply being a journalist wasn’t enough for her. Nicole wanted to feel that her writing had the potential to have an impact on the way people think and live. She wanted to challenge conventional thinking and research subjects that interested her.
After sorting through several press releases and covering exclusive events, Behnam changed her major from Journalism to Public Relations at the Annenberg School for Communication at USC.
Still, she is a dedicated writer. Nicole has written several full-page editorials over the past seven years for quite a few publications. When a suicide occurred in a local private high school, a school known for its privileged student body, Nicole investigated the incident, conducted research on depression and suicide, interviewed psychologists, and wrote an article on student suicide and depression. What would lead someone from a good family at a great school to do such a thing? She sought to explain to community members the predisposition of suicide victims. “Maybe I could make a difference. Maybe I could even help prevent a suicide,” said Nicole.
Nicole says that for her, there is nothing quite like the thrill of informing people about important issues and events.