Meet ONA Local is a new series introducing the volunteers who lead our ONA Local communities. ONA Local is at the heart of what we do, bringing networking and training to cities and college campuses around the world. Leaders have their fingers on the pulse of their journalism communities, convening important conversations and networking opportunities.
Alex Harris is a higher education reporter at the Miami Herald and co-leads ONA South Florida. Join ONA South Florida on Facebook.
What do you love about your work?
My job lets me break out of my bubble on a daily basis. Every day is an opportunity to hear a story from someone I would never meet otherwise. I get to be curious for a living! Few people can tell stories about meeting a man who feedsChips Ahoy! cookies to his 47-year-old pet alligator, or touring the county’s first medical marijuana dispensary or interviewing pregnant moms worried about Zika. I get to tell all of them — at parties and on paper— for a living. I couldn’t imagine a better career.
Tell us about something you’ve worked on in the past year that you’re super proud of.
I just finished a package of stories on the one-year mark of the Pulse nightclub massacre. The shooting happened on the second week of my first journalism job, and I spent more than a week in Orlando (my hometown) covering it. It was important for me to come back and report on a story my colleague and I knew was powerful and needed: the status of Orlando’s LGBTQ community of color.
What’s your passion project outside of journalism?
Cooking is my favorite thing to do when I get home from work, and my perfect Sunday usually involves using every burner on my stove (plus the oven) simultaneously.
Tell us what’s amazing about the digital journalism community in South Florida.
Our community is multi-cultural and multi-lingual. We span three counties, and we have a wide variety of members that do all kinds of journalism in all kinds of ways. It’s always fascinating to meet ONA speakers or members who apply their digital skills abroad, and I love being in a journalism community where international experience is common.
Tell us about something great you’ve read, watched or listened to lately.
The latest season of “The United States of Anxiety,” which I just started listening to, is a revelatory and nuanced look at American cultural divides. I’m really interested in the environment, so the episode on climate change denial really helped put words to the frustration I feel about that argument. Go listen!
What’s your favorite thing about being involved with ONA South Florida?
It’s such a relief to have people I can geek out with about all the wonky journalism stuff I’m obsessed with. I know my non-journo friends appreciate it!
What’s your six word memoir?
One thing at a time, Alex.