When Joy-Ann Reid moved from New York to South Florida in 1997, she not only had a change of location, but also of career.
Always attracted to news and reporting, she went from working at a business-consulting firm, to taking a job writing for a WSVN Channel 7 morning show, getting paid $7.25 per hour, while also working a day job as a copywriter.
“It was literally a career changer for me,” said Reid, who graduated from Harvard University with a concentration in film. “I had two small kids. I was kind of starting over and reinventing myself. I’ve been a news junkie since I was a kid and had always been interested in it.”
What Reid describes as, “a series of fortunate events,” her ability to network and ask for what she wanted within the news industry landed her various consecutive positions. She slowly climbed the journalism ladder.
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On May 11, Reid addressed a room of young listeners at the Miami Coalition of Christians and Jews – also known as MCCJ – breakfast, where she also received the Hank Meyer National Headliner Award.
“I’m always overwhelmed by anybody recognizing the work that I’m just trying to do every day. I’m very proud of it, very honored to receive it, especially it’s kind of wonderful that it’s from an organization in South Florida, where I lived for 14 years,” said Reid, who again resides in New York.
Reid currently is national correspondent for MSNBC and hosts a weekend program tackling news and political topics of the week.
Her articles have appeared on various local publications such as the Sun Sentinel and South Florida Times, she worked as an online news editor for WTVJ, is a former talk-radio producer and host for Radio One, and she wrote the book, “Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide.”
The MCCJ event began 8:30 a.m. at Rusty Pelican restaurant in Key Biscayne. Reid spoke on topics such as youth involvement in politics, the importance of voting and diversity within the journalism field. She also signed books.
The Hank Meyer National Headliner Award is a recognition granted to journalists who mirror MCCJ’s main objective: to create a safe haven for dialog, to trains inclusive leaders and promoting the tolerance for all faiths, races and cultures through education, advocacy and conflict resolution. It was first given to journalist Walter Cronkite in the 1970s by longtime Miami Beach publicist Hank Meyer.
Since then, an annual event is held in which a national journalist is recognized for their labor in uniting the community and embracing diversity. Barbara Walters, Tom Brokaw and Chuck Todd have all been honored.
“Joy’s work about talking frankly and having open dialogue is exactly why she was chosen,” said Johann Ali, chairman of board of directors at MCCJ. “It aligns very closely with MCCJ’s mission.”