Jason Motlagh has only been out of college for six years, but he has already made a successful career for himself as a freelance journalist.
After graduating from college in 2004, he got a job as a fisherman on a commercial fishing boat in Alaska.
"I was looking forward to doing something more concrete after being in college and doing a lot of abstract stuff," Motlagh said.
He then said he spent some time working at internships. He realized he didn't like working in Washington and covering D.C. politics. He was more interested in covering foreign news.
"I resolved very quickly that I was going to go overseas," he said.
He decided to go to West Africa, where he knew he could have a competitive edge due to the high turnover of foreign journalists there.
"I figured that what I lacked in experience and polish as a writer I could make up in hustle," he said.
He reported on many stories while in Africa and was often the only foreign reporter for miles, but he was forced to return to the United States when he was hit with a bad case of malaria.