August 9, 2021

"Journalism and philosophy are both about asking questions," said incoming student, Shant Shahrigian.

Shant Shahrigian (Photo courtesy of Shahrigian)
Shant Shahrigian (Photo courtesy of Shahrigian)

Shant Shahrigian has been a working reporter since he freelanced for a couple of local newspapers when he was growing up in Fairfax County, Virginia. Starting in August, Shahrigian, a political reporter for the Daily News, will have a new beat. After covering the recent New York City mayoral primary, he left-full time reporting and will begin studying for his M.A. in Philosophy at the Graduate Center.

Shahrigian has reported locally and in Europe and, for the past few years, covered Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration. But, philosophy, he says, has been a bit of an obsession for him since his undergraduate studies at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland. "I've basically always wanted to go to graduate school for philosophy," he said. "Then the opportunity arose, and I was thrilled to get it."

He came to know the Graduate Center from working as a reporter. "Over the years," he said, "I would call up the Graduate Center to find an expert to help me out understanding some piece of urban policy or looking for a quote to put a political story in context. I was impressed by the expertise, professionalism, and kindness that the faculty showed me. I thought, if and when I do go back to study, this would be a great place to do that."

His experience as a political reporter informs his interest in studying political philosophy and ethics. He said that while covering the primaries, for example, philosophical questions were often in the back of his mind. "Public Safety," he explained, "came to be pretty much the main issue during the mayoral primary, including police staffing numbers, budget questions, policy, how the police interact with different communities. Behind each one of those issues," he continued, "some bigger potentially philosophical issues were at work."

He wants to explore it all. "Given the range of expertise at the Graduate Center," he said he wants to "take advantage to study as many things as possible." He hopes to go on to pursue a Ph.D. in philosophy, continue his writing, and potentially teach. 

Thinking about his new beat, he noted that, "Journalism and philosophy are both about asking questions. The focus of those questions might be very different. The way you pose them might be very different, but maybe there's a similar turn of thought or personal disposition you apply to both fields."

Published by the Office of Communications and Marketing.