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Becoming Storytellers

Author: Becoming Storyterllers

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Journalists get REAL about the grind before the shine & how you can level up in your career.
Created and hosted by Emmy-nominated anchor, Venise Toussaint.
Follow @BecomingStorytellers on Instagram.
21 Episodes
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To say the last few months have been challenging, as journalists specifically as Black journalists, would be an understatement. From the coronavirus pandemic, to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aurbery & others and the racial unrest that followed. Those stories hit us differently. In this episode, I talk to clinical psychologist Dr. Tasha Brown about: Coping with the trauma of covering these difficult stories, signs you need therapy, navigating toxic spaces & all things mental health.
What keeps you grounded through tough times? For journalist Jade Jackson, founder of The Main Source Media, focusing on Christ has given her strength in her darkest days.  A young ambitious journalist, Jade held down several internships in college & landed her first TV job in her home state just months after graduation. She was on top of the world, everything was going great... until it wasn’t. Jade was let go from her reporter job after only a few months, her boss told her she “wasn’t the right fit”. Things went downhill from there, Jade felt like she lost everything, friends, her job, her relationship. Just when she was about to give up on journalism, a call from a top market, then a call and a flight out to New York City to interview for a program with a national network.    Through that tough period in her life she created The Main Source Media, a platform connecting Christian storytellers through their love for Christ, prayer, and daily spiritual encouragement. 
Midday Maryland host Elsa M left the TV business for seven years after feeling emotionally drained & burned out, she hit her breaking point with all the negativity of news and vowed never to go back to TV unless she was in the lifestyle hosting position she wanted. Elsa spent years doing other communications related work for Yelp and a non-profit connected to singer/songwriter Bono.  It all led back to the position she was destined to be in, doing what she loves.    Listen to Episode 18 to hear:   Why it’s so important to know when it’s time to leave How Elsa does self-care Creating your own platform to keep your skills fresh Knowing your worth & getting exactly what you want in your career Being authentic on and off camera + much more
When Derrick Rose joined WISN Milwaukee’s news team, he was hired to help lead the investigative unit. He held down the *many* FOIA requests, intense research and hard work that goes into being a good investigative reporter, all while turning daily stories on a nightside schedule; then one day, just months into the job he was called into the office with his news director & general manager.  Naturally, his initial thought was “what did I do?”  Turns out he did everything right and his were bosses taking note! A lesson in: you never know who’s watching, so always do your best work.  Derrick was promoted to help launch and anchor a new 9pm newscast in addition to his investigative reporting duties. It’s a lot of work, “to whom much is given, much is required”, Derrick says; but he wouldn’t have it any other way. Listen to episode 17 of Becoming Storytellers to hear Derrick talk about being ready for unexpected career opportunities, how to stay on top of investigative reporting & keep the powerful accountable, the responsibility that comes with living out his career goal of being able to report and anchor, and the feeling of winning his first Emmy after more than a decade in the business.     
As a young girl, Emily Jones was fascinated with the Middle East & Jerusalem. Growing up in a Christian household, she noticed the stories she read in the Bible happened in the Middle East. Emily was introduced to the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in college and though she didn’t want to be a journalist at first (her dad’s a journalist & she would tell him how boring she thought his job was lol ) she gave it a shot anyway and fell in love with storytelling. At 22 years old she was offered the opportunity of a lifetime; to be a multi-media journalist for CBN based in Jerusalem.  Listen to episode 16 of Becoming Storytellers to hear Emily talk about:   - Taking the leap of faith even when she didn’t know how it would turn out   - Her experience adjusting to life in a different region of the world   - A day in the life of a young journalist covering Jerusalem   - Her most memorable stories & biggest challenges   - Advice for others looking to become international journalists
Nicki Mayo lives, sleeps & breaths #journolife. She’s worked as a TV & radio reporter, producer, writer, MMJ, social media consultant and journalism teacher. Like most journalists, her career has taken her to several cities and states; some great experiences others not-so-great, but all provided stepping stones and lessons along the way. In episode 15 of BecomingStorytellers, Nikki talks about the highs and lows in her journalism journey and keeps it all the way real about the benefits & challenges of having to do it all. 
CW26 Chicago reporter/anchor Brandon Pope was just minding his business; anchoring & reporting in South Bend, Indiana,  when his news director got a call from his company's sister station in Chicago. They noticed his work and were interested in having him join their team in the Windy City. That call lead to a two month "try-out" before he officially got the job.  Now Brandon brings his creativity and talent to a fresh, innovative morning show called "The Jam" (They even have a live DJ on set, ya'll!!)   In episode 14 of Becoming Storytellers, Brandon talks about his transition from market #96 to #3, how he deals with impostor syndrome & walking in his power, working on a show where he feels supported, the importance of journalists building their brands & using social media to land their next job, plus he's dropping his  "Top 3 Journey Gems".
As a young girl, Jennifer Martinez says her mother gave her journals and told her to write. “ Write your feelings, write about what happened today or what’s going on” her mom would say. Jennifer’s love for writing & talking came in handy leading her to pursue a career in journalism. After working in Springfield, Massachusetts & Tucson, Arizona, she made the jump to one of the top 15 markets in the country.  Jennifer talks about working in Phoenix, connecting with people in Spanish-speaking neighborhoods, the importance of representation, how meditation helped her career, and what she’s learned about live shots & storytelling along the way. 
When WTKR morning anchor Jessica Larche talks about her journey, “rejection” is one of the first words that comes to mind.  “Rejection is a blessing; embrace it, learn from it, and keep pushing forward” is one of Jessica's Journey Gems.  Jessica says she felt rejected when she graduated with a 4.0 GPA and no job; not even a call back from the countless news directors she’d sent her reel to.  That rejection continued as a young reporter when she was turned down from her dream job in her home city.  For years, Jessica used food as an outlet to cope with her anxiety, binge eating regularly to numb what she was feeling.  Morbid obesity lead to one of the biggest scares of Jessica's life forcing her to  Decide To Live.    Listen to episode 12 of @BecomingStorytellers podcast to hear about: Jessica’s emotional 100-pound weight loss journey How she got an unexpected call from her current station WTKR Her promotion to morning anchor Being vulnerable with viewers and overcoming fear to start @DecideToLiveTV + much more! Also, check out Jessica’s online talk show @DecideToLiveTV on Youtube!
From Army veteran, to police sergeant, to TV anchor/reporter, NBC-Atlanta's Ron Jones’ path to becoming a journalist is as unique as they come.  Though he always knew he wanted to be a storyteller, Ron almost gave up on that dream until life’s unexpected twists & turns lead him right to where he was destined to be.  In this episode of Becoming Storytellers, Ron talks about making the transition from law enforcement to journalism, how faith led him to his dream & the full-circle moment involving a news director who told him he would never get a job as a journalist.   
Tahera Rahman has always dreamed of being a TV reporter. She had the talent, passion and ability to do the job but even while being a qualified candidate, dozens of News Directors turned her down. There could only be one reason why, she thought: her hijab.  Tahera chooses to wear the traditional Muslim head scarf and it was a non-negotiable in her quest to get into TV News. Finally, she got hired as an evening producer working behind the scenes at WHBF-TV but it would take years and applying three times for a reporter position at that same station before she was finally given the opportunity. Tahera is now the first TV reporter in America to wear a hijab on air.    In this episode of #BecomingStorytellers she talks about what it felt like having an armed security guard follow her around on stories in her first month on the job, her parents’ emotional reaction to seeing her on air for the first time, the stories of support she’s received & hate she’s faced while doing her job, her message for other hijabi women & girls who want to live out their dream of being TV reporters & much more.    She’s also dropping her Top 3 “Journey Gems” to help you excel in your life & career. 
TV One’s Senior Digital & Social Producer, Krystal Franklin, is the magic behind taking the network's digital platforms to the next level with more than 16 million page views under her watch; but her journey in entertainment media wasn’t easy. It took years to get there. She talks about the journey that ultimately led her to working for Steve Harvey and radio legend Tom Joyner.    Listen, subscribe, leave a rating & review. Follow @BecomingStorytellers on Instagram. 
Get to know the candidates running for NABJ President! Atlanta Journal Constitution Education Reporter, NABJ VP of Print & candidate for NABJ President, Marlon Walker, talks about why he should be president, changes he will make to improve the organization, the cost of convention, securing sponsorships, holding major media companies accountable for diversity, leadership opportunities for younger journalists, the future of Print Journalism. He also shares his personal story about how he got his start in the journalism business and drops tips & advice for journalists.
Get to know the candidates running for NABJ President! Senior Managing Editor for The Atlantic, past NABJ President & current candidate for NABJ President, Gregory Lee, talks about why he should be president again, changes he’s made during his tenure & how he plans to build on that, the cost of convention, holding major media companies accountable for diversity, leadership opportunities for younger journalists, the future of Sports Journalism. He also shares his personal story about how he got his start in the journalism business and drops tips & advice for journalists.
Get to know the candidates running for NABJ President! Veteran CBS Chicago Investigative reporter, current NABJ VP of Broadcast & candidate for NABJ President, Dorothy Tucker, talks about why she should be president, changes she will make to improve the organization, the cost of convention, inclusion, holding major media companies accountable, leadership opportunities for younger journalists. She also shares her personal story about how she got her start in the journalism business and drops tips & advice for journalists.
From the outside looking in, Valeria Sistrunk had it all. A job as a TV news reporter, talent, drive;  but on the inside she was suffering. The toxic newsroom environment and news business in general was affecting her health. She struggled to pay her bills, got denied for food stamps twice, could barely eat and didn’t at the time see therapy as an option (because she’s black and black people don’t do therapy, right? WRONG) A friend encouraged her to go to therapy and it changed her life.  Lead her to creating a successful business (RateMyStation.Com) which helps thousands of journalists with the goal of preventing them from going through what she went through.    This episode is an eyeopener & vital conversation for not only journalists and student journalists but also for News Directors, General Managers, Executive Producers, Newsroom Mangers & Corporate leadership at media companies who have the power to make the much needed positive changes in the industry.    Please listen & most of all TAKE ACTION. 
Quincy Harris, host of “The Q” on Fox29 Philly & The Quincy Harris Morning Show on 100.3 WRNB talks about the full circle moment of being asked to host his own TV show, how he prepared for it a decade earlier, what’s next & his top 3 “Journey Gems.”
ABC Action News Tampa Anchor/Reporter,  Jasmine Styles, talks about how she stumbled on journalism, why she chose a job in market #141 over market #11 , and how she made the 130 market jump to eventually come back around to be an anchor in the 11th market in the country at just 28 years old. 
Bay News 9 MMJ, Stephanie Claytor, talks about the pros/cons of working in a bureau & rarely seeing her mangers or co-workers, how she balances being a newlywed, new homeowner & MMJ reporter, and why she started her own travel blog BlackTrekking.com
Cleveland 19 News MMJ Reporter/Anchor, Sia Nyorkor, talks about her journey from documentary producer to on-air, her recent promotion & why she never wants to be a full-time anchor, her role as NABJ’s Region II Director and advice to younger journalists.
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