Meet ONA Local is a 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.
What do you love about your work?
I love how experimental it is. I get to work with smart, creative people to figure out interesting ways to tell stories. And my beat is entertainment, so I get to cover food and drinks, which are two of my favorite things in this life.
Tell us about something you’ve worked on in the past year that you’re super proud of.
Each year, we create a bunch of Cincinnati-centric content pegged to an unofficial city holiday, 513 Day. (Cincinnati’s area code is 513, so it’s celebrated on May 13.) This year, I edited a comic journalism project by our editorial cartoonist that detailed the origins of Cincinnati chili — the city’s favorite food. The piece was really popular and was shared widely; our engagement numbers on the piece were through the roof. And a lot of people told us afterward that they really enjoyed reading it, which is always great to hear.
What’s your passion project outside of journalism?
Does wine count as a passion project? Just kidding! It’s not an official “project,” but when I’m not working, I’m on a mission to add as many stamps to my passport as possible.
Tell us what’s amazing about the digital journalism community in Cincinnati.
We’re all curious and passionate about engaging readers more deeply and experimenting with new ways to do that. And while we may work for competitors, many of us are connected in some way through our shared work history or social groups. So, there are a lot of friendships across competing outlets, and there’s a lot of camaraderie.
When did you first know you wanted to go into journalism?
In my high school media class. We produced the student newspaper. My awesome teacher, Mrs. Lillquist ,nurtured my love for words and writing and helped me understand that this really could be a legit career. (Hey, Mrs. Lill! *waves*)
If you weren’t in journalism, what would you be doing instead?
Something in music programming or production; I LOVE music.
Name a person (they can be a historical figure or living) you’d love to have at an ONA Cincinnati meetup.
Ta-Nehisi Coates. He’s from Baltimore (like me), he went to Howard University (like me) and he’s a journalist (like me). His writing is powerful. Lyrical. He moves me. Inspires me. And makes me want to be a better writer, journalist and critical thinker.
Tell us about something great you’ve read, watched or listened to lately.
Jay-Z’s “4:44” album — there are so many levels in his music. I’m a huge Jay fan and have been since his first album. I love “Reasonable Doubt,” but the growth between that and “4:44” is … whew. Astounding.
What’s your six-word memoir?
Either “I’m Not Beyonce, But I’m Trying” or “Not My Monkey, Not My Circus.”