This week’s featured media mogul in the making is none other than journalist, creative and on-air talent, J’na Jefferson! Jefferson’s work has been featured in platforms such as Billboard, BBC Music, MTV News, Playboy, The Recording Academy/GRAMMYs, Cosmopolitan, The Root, VIBE, Paper, BET, Red Bull, Okayplayer, and XXL to name a few. Get to know J’na and her professional journey below.
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 interested in reading and writing, ever since I was a little kid, those have been my “things.” I knew what I wanted to do as a journalist when I was about nine years old. I saw an on-the-street reporter doing a standup when walking with my mom through New York City, and stopped dead in my tracks and confirmed that it’s something I needed to do when I ‘grew up’. I’ve always liked reading the news and watching news programs and learning about the world around me, so I made it my mission to touch as many facets of journalism as I could.”
How did you get your start in the media field? Did you study communications in college? Internships? Hobby writing?
“I made sure to take writing classes all through grade school and settled on studying journalism for my undergraduate studies. I graduated from Rider University in 2015 with my BA in journalism and digital media studies.
I had a music blog on the side when I was in undergrad, but I took an interesting detour to get to the professional music journalist gig I have today. I was interested in becoming a television writer, and I had a comedy writing internship with College Humor right out of school. However, I wanted to get back to my journalism and music writer roots, so I applied to *everything* I could before College Humor ended. I got an internship with Vibe basically as soon as CH ended, and I’ve been grinding ever since.”
Tell us how you built up your platform. What’s your mission/goals? Who’s your audience?
“My platform as a journalist and media mogul in the making is based on being as authentic as possible. Journalism is all about being truthful, and being myself—as transparent, as real, as candid as I pride myself on being in my personal life—is just as important in my professional life. Sometimes the truth can be a tough pill to swallow, but life is full of hard truths…but someone has to be the one to say what others won’t. I’m never afraid to open my mouth (or my computer) to say or write what needs to be said. My goal is to keep it “a buck” at all times!
I’m not sure who my audience is because it’s virtually all over the board! I come from a very diverse upbringing from family to friends, and I think my work has garnered fans from everywhere and anywhere. I recently got praise from a ‘new fan’ from Oklahoma, and gave career advice to a writer currently living in France. I never know who I’m reaching with my work, and that’s the beauty of it.”
So far throughout your career, what has been your proudest personal media moment?
“I think my proudest personal media moment is when I got to speak with Tarana Burke, the founder of Me Too. That conversation and subsequent feature was the catalyst for me realizing that my writing and the crux of my mission is to also to protect and amplify marginalized voices, particularly women of color. My work often focuses on the intersectionality of music and culture, and women of color/Black women ARE the culture. To be one and to use my gifts to show the world just how important we are, and how important it is to help us is one of my greatest joys as a writer.”
What advice would you give aspiring mediapreneurs looking to enter the field?
“My advice would be to focus on yourself, and keep pushing even if you see other people doing things you believe you need to be doing. Your timeline is your timeline, and their timeline is theirs. Just keep your nose down, do the work, and be patient.”
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