People of Sacramento commenting on the news: Jamila Khan

Jamila Khan, content and social media coordinator at Photo: Kevin Fiscus.
Jamila Khan, content and social media coordinator at Photo: Kevin Fiscus.

(This is the 25th installment in a weekly series with people who don’t work in journalism commenting on the news. Photography by Kevin Fiscus. If you’d like to participate, message or tweet me.)

Meet Jamila Khan.

She’s 29, grew up in north Sacramento, graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, lives downtown, serves on the leadership team of the Sacramento Young Professionals of Color, sits on the board of directors for the Alchemist Community Development Corporation and works as a content and social media coordinator at

Her job includes writing (she interviews local artists for a monthly feature), covering events using social media (she speaks to the power of Instagram), curating newsletters and maintaining an arts and entertainment calendar of more than 300 events a month.

“People are realizing we are a resource for events in Sacramento,” she says.

We met for the first time at Hot Italian in November to talk about the city of Sacramento and her thoughts on the news.

Jamila returned to the region seven years ago to study community development at UC Davis and soon embarked on a career detour that led to public relations work for venture capitalists and lifestyle coverage at Style Media Group. She credits Social Media Club Sacramento with sparking an interest in engagement.

“Somehow, someway, I became a social media person,” she says.

She considers it an exciting time to live in Sacramento, with many unique events, a developing food movement, venues attracting better musicians, an improving dining scene and a downtown arena that’s “actually happening.”

She’s surprised when people say there’s nothing going on in Sacramento. You just have to look, and, yes, you sometimes have to pay.

“As I’ve grown older, I’ve begun to appreciate what we have here,” she says.

Sacramento, she says, is “doing what we’re saying we’re going to do” and “convincing people we’re something to invest in.” “We’re getting recognized as a cool, hip place.”

Her job and nonprofit work keep her connected with what’s going on in Sacramento. So, international news often appeals to her more than local news. As someone with family living on six continents, she wants to know what’s going on in other parts of the world and she makes an effort to find opposing views on a topic to gain a better perspective.

If she watches local television news, it’s KCRA. She used to watch Good Day Sacramento when she was younger, she says, because it wasn’t stuffy. Now, she’ll watch their viral spars with stars, be it Cara Delevingne or Patton Oswalt.

For print coverage, she’s quick to identify qualities she appreciates: the readability of the Sacramento Business Journal, the web layout of Comstock’s, the slideshows on The Sacramento Bee, the “Why Not Here? feature in Sactown Magazine and the theater coverage in Sacramento News & Review.

“Not having a TV has forced me to find news,” she says.

Jamila answered the following questions by email about how she gets the news. Text submitted November 4.

How do you get your news?
When I was a kid I read a lot of print news. My grandpa had subscriptions to everything — Time, National Geographic, The Week, and Newsweek, you name it. Over the years, I’ve become more reliant on written and video online content, especially now that I don’t have a television.

I’ll admit I’m still searching for the best mix of news resources. Luckily, I have a very international family and a lot of brainy friends, so my Facebook wall is loaded with great articles with unique, global perspectives. Since I’m a social media coordinator, I also find stories through my work Twitter and Hootsuite lists. For long reads and in-depth articles, I’ll check out The Guardian, Salon, The Atlantic and Vox.

If I’m in the mood for some info-tainment, I’ll watch a Vice documentary or listen to The Young Turks. Cenk Ughur and Ana Kasparian say what I think… most of the time.

During lunch break you’ll catch me reading trashy TMZ articles about Tyga’s and Kylie Jenner’s forbidden love.

What’s the first news event you remember?
The Polly Klaas tragedy is the first news story that comes to mind. When I was a kid my last name was Kloss, so the similarities of our surnames gave me an eerie connection to her. And because of her murder, I was scared to sleep by windows and doors for much of my childhood.

What content do you pay for?
Not much. I’m pretty stingy now that I have to pay rent. For the next three months I have Spotify Premium just so ads won’t ruin my workouts.

What’s the last great thing you ate?
I had a great bowl of vegan shio ramen from Shoki Ramen House a few weeks ago. Black sesame seeds are surprisingly flavorful. A bowl of that sounds real good right now.

Who’s doing it right in news?
Any news outlet that supports and nurtures its journalists and photographers is doing news right. What Rupert Murdoch is doing to National Geographic right now is breaking my heart.

Name the three most important issues facing Sacramento.
(1) Homelessness is definitely one of them. I live and work in downtown (near the Convention Center specifically) and I see more and more faces camped outside of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. The Sacramento Bee did an excellent job uncovering Nevada’s “patient dumping” scheme and a few years ago the Sacramento News and Review had a great issue dedicated to how diverse our homeless population is.

(2) Gentrification and affordable housing. There’s been a housing development boom as a response to the new arena and I wonder how many people will be priced out of their ‘hoods as a result. Can we attract young professionals with $2K+ a month lofts? Will our central city turn into a SoDoSoPa? I’m excited for what the future brings to Sacramento, I just hope we are developing intelligently and inclusively.

(3) Food insecurity is huge in our area. Listen to Capital Public Radio’s The View From Here: Hidden Hunger Series to get a sense of how hard it is get fresh, healthy food in America’s bread basket.

What do you absolutely hate about the news?
I hate the Buzzfeed-ification of the news. Listicles. Click-baity headlines. Gross, gross, gross.

I also hate how 24 hour news coverage takes opinion/speculation as fact.

What’s the most important issue to you that’s not being covered well enough?
It’s not an issue per say, but international news coverages often times is portrayed through a “doom and gloom” lens, especially Sub-Saharan Africa. “It’s only war and disease out there” is such myopic way to view a vast swath of our Earth. I visited my family in South Africa this year and it was funny to see their reaction to these African stereotypes.

I seriously could spend hours looking through the beautiful photos in the #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou hashtag.

If you could be anywhere, an-hour-and-a-half drive away, where would you be?
Japantown in San Francisco will always have a place in my heart. It’s the only place where you can find an authentic Korean Day Spa in northern California, kawaii Japanese fashion magazines, and a room filled with 50 photobooths. Plus, there’s a store called Neat Asian Things. How could you not love that?

View this post on Instagram

Best store name ever. I heart you, #Japantown.

A post shared by Jamila B. Khan Roughani (@jamiladoingthings) on


Follow Jamila (@JamilaBKhan) on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.

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