You are a multi-talented individual dipping and dapping in a bunch of other expressive fields. So, what was it about journalism or media that piqued your interest?
“I’ve always been a curious person. Books fed a lot of my curiosity and once Google came around, no one could tell me anything. Storytelling also played a vital role in my upbringing and education. My parents would read me bedtime stories (until I got to the age where I could read to them until they fell asleep), I listened to books on tape, started almost every morning with the voices of NPR coming from my mom’s FM/AM radio, and sat in awe as I listened to the tales my family would tell around the dinner table.
I want you to think of the last story that you heard. Whether if it was a podcast interview, a documentary, or your grandparents reliving memories of the past. Now think about how hearing those stories made you feel. Inspired? Worried? Calm?
I wanted to take my curiosity and my love of storytelling and find a way to put them to use to not only express myself but to create the feelings we feel when hearing a story. That’s how I found the world of media and journalism.”
How did you get your start in the media field? Did you study communications in college? Internships? Hobby writing?
“In elementary school, I was very involved in storytelling competitions and the debate team, so I knew that my voice carried some kind of power. I just didn’t know how I was going to use that power as an adult so I tried using my voice a few different ways. I tried acting (pretty good), singing (not so good), and going to local town hall meetings to speak out on issues that greatly impacted my fellow peers (like how forcing us to wear uniforms was just not it). However, sitting in my first journalism class as a sophomore in high school, solidified my desire to be a journalist. And once I realized I wasn’t restricted to just writing on paper and could use my physical voice, that’s when I started to think of myself as a broadcast journalist.
I went on to study broadcast journalism in college with a sports concentration. I just knew I would be an NBA sideline reporter like Cherly Miller or Doris Burke. But college, as it usually does, allowed me to explore other avenues of journalism and even though I graduated with a sports concentration, I was already involved in the arts, entertainment, and lifestyle forms of media. Along with being a color-commentator for my university’s women’s basketball team, I wrote for HerCampus, my university newspaper, and I also co-hosted a music variety show on campus where I interviewed musicians, artists, activists, and entrepreneurs. This then inspired me to create my own platform. “
Tell us about your platform. What’s your mission/goals? Who’s your audience?
“Maya’s Moment (mayasmoment.com) was the name of a segment I had at my old radio station where I would talk about topics ranging from pop culture, current events, and mental health. My blog is pretty much the same thing but refined to fit my current niche. The blog focuses greatly on mental health, wellness, travel, and social media tips and tools.
A few months after leaving my radio station, I created the bi-weekly, interview podcast ‘That Moment When with Maya Harris’. While my podcast aims to highlight creatives and entrepreneurs of color, I do drive home a focus around women of color who are killing it in their respective industries.”
So far throughout your career, what has been your proudest personal media moment?
“Every single time I interview someone on my podcast I am blown away by their stories, trials, triumphs, and the desire to make a change. I’ve interviewed a wide range of people from an author talking about publishing their first book to a sex expert who directs porn movies that aim to highlight Black sexuality and romance. I learn a great deal from each of my guests so starting this journey a podcaster has definitely been my proudest personal media moment.”
What advice would you give aspiring mediapreneurs looking to enter the field?
“DO THE DAMN THING! You’re going to regret not starting that blog, podcast, photography business, or whatever it may be. The main reason I started my podcast was to yes, talk about people’s achievements, but more importantly to talk about their low points. On social media, we are literally scrolling through people’s highlight reels which make everything seem all wonderful. Well, life isn’t always wonderful. It gets hard, tiresome, and stressful. That’s why it’s so important to create. Create whatever you’re feeling. Even if it doesn’t turn out the way you want it to or someone says something mean about what you’ve made, that’s okay! You learn just as much, if not more, from your L’s (lessons) in life as your W’s.”
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