Unveiling the ‘Ink’-sider’s Scoop On A Journalist’s Life: Nessa Anwar

Follow NOORAISHAH KARIM as she interviews Nessa Anwar, a current journalist about her life and what we could learn from it.



Nooraishah Karim
Social Media Manager

Hype Issue #58

Published on
January 17, 2023

In the fast-paced world of multimedia journalism, Nessa Anwar stands out as a dynamic force as she seamlessly navigates the complex realms of business and geopolitical news at CNBC International. From her background in Analytical Philosophy at the National University of Singapore to her diverse experiences in the arts, Nessa’s journey is a fascinating exploration of the intersections between academia, creativity, and the ever-evolving landscape of news reporting.

Nessa Anwar

Her recent trip to Korea consisted of a two-woman team focusing on woman-centric stories! Photo taken from Nessa Anwar’s LinkedIn.

Analytical Philosophy and Multimedia Journalism

Nessa’s journey began with a degree in Philosophy from the National University of Singapore, where she focused on analytical methodologies, including the study of ethics and logic.

In a field where Nessa interacts with CEOs, directors, security guards, and interviewees from all walks of life, her ability to code-switch, moving effortlessly between different conversational styles, emerges as a crucial skill in her journalistic toolkit. Nessa acknowledges the challenge of doing it all and delivering at the same time but highlights the importance of adaptability in the multifaceted world of journalism. She explains, “I work with a lean team, I am my own producer and PR agency. I put on different hats on a single shoot and this can be a little draining.”

Artistic Influence and Storytelling Abilities

Nessa Anwar CNBC

Nessa’s warm persona comes across effortlessly on camera. Photo taken from Nessa Anwar’s LinkedIn.

With experience in performing, producing, directing, and writing for various mediums, Nessa’s artistic influence is evident in her storytelling abilities as a journalist. While she clarifies that she doesn’t ‘perform’ as a journalist, the skills honed in presenting, establishing rapport with interviewees, and doing voice overs seamlessly integrate into her work. 

Nessa mentioned that her training in Analytical Philosophy has influenced her approach to journalism. In an age of rapid information dissemination and varied perspectives, her ability to think critically and analyse complex issues is undoubtedly a valuable asset. 

Insights from ‘InstaScram’ and Diplomacy in a Corporate Setting

Nessa’s experience with InstaScram, a biker-themed online travel series, was an enriching one. Despite the challenges of producing and hosting a project with a quirky subject, Nessa found it to be a gratifying and insightful endeavour, considering how she combined her passion for motorcycles and her job as a journalist. 

InstaScram, created in collaboration with IMDA and several other bike companies, featured Nessa as its host, and covered the many sights and places in Singapore with a twist, like unique museums and carparks! Nessa rode to many of these places on her motorbike. 

“InstaScram had its fan base and it was a very gratifying project. The project was hard-won; a few key stakeholders didn’t believe in a biker-centric show… We fought hard for it,” Nessa said. 

Social Media Presence and Maintaining Privacy

Nessa Anwar

Nessa’s work and experiences are something to appreciate and learn from. Photo taken from The Codette Project.

Despite being a regular contributor on CNBC International’s social media platforms, Nessa maintains a private online presence regarding her own life. Prioritising mental health, Nessa prefers to respond personally to specific questions on CNBC’s YouTube videos instead of taking personal questions as she finds it better than dealing with the haters. “I’m very private, and being a brown, female, visibly Muslim presenter on a channel that’s 90% male audience, I get a lot of hate and misogyny directed at me.”

Playwriting and Journalism Parallels

Nessa’s playwriting skills are showcased in works like ‘Riders Know When It’s Gonna Rain’, which is a coming-of-age story about a group of friends and their common love for motorbikes. Another play she wrote is ‘Rumah Dayak’, which is about a family and their navigation through poverty and abuse. When she writes such realist plays, she finds parallels in her audience with facts and statistics, a common thread in both playwriting and journalism.

Looking ahead, Nessa expresses her desire to take a Spanish language examination and write her next full-length play in the upcoming two years. Her commitment to continuous learning and creative pursuits highlights her lively and proactive attitude towards life and professional endeavours.