Media Mogul In The Making: Meet Jonathan Ramsey

Media mogul in the making, Jonathan Ramsey. Photo by Anthony Steverson.

This week’s featured media mogul in the making is the founder and editor-in-chief of budding music and entertainment site, What’s The Movement, co-host of the podcast A Side B Side, and our very own director of programming, Jonathan Ramsey. Get to know Jonathan and his 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?

“In high school, we had a television station where we produced a news show for our morning announcements. Between being in front of the camera or in the control room I got my feet wet early with media. I was even running our media ministry at my church at that time. When I got out of high school, I originally contemplated public office, but I also didn’t like the idea of politics versus the actual governing. I figured I’d get my bachelor’s degree in Journalism rather than pre-law because if I was still passionate, I could go to law school post-graduation. My parents wanted me to be the black Anderson Cooper and I went the music route instead.”

How did you get your start in the media field? Did you study communications in college? Internships? Hobby writing?

“I attribute my real media start at William Paterson University working at our on-campus radio station WPSC 88.7 FM. During my tenure, Brave New Radio was one of the best college stations in the country and won many IBS awards in addition to an MTV Woodie nomination in 2014. At that time I was DJ-ing, producing and hosting my own show, interning at a few platforms like Vibe magazine covering entertainment, and the Star Ledger covering local stories and policy. I was also writing on my own Tumblr blog now a multimedia brand, WhatsTheMovement.net (WTM). I’d even begin hosting live events and shows. I graduated from Willy P with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Music Management.”

Tell us how you built up your platform. What’s your mission/goals? Who’s your audience?

“WTM began on Tumblr where I’d write about mainstream music and whatever I found digging around on SoundCloud during the blog era. I was always passionate about music and played a few instruments in orchestra and marching band. Post high school I’d even study music theory so I knew it’d always be in my life. As I was building a name for myself, I found a lot of local acts would reach out for coverage on my radio show which at the time wasn’t geared towards Hip-Hop and R&B. I got to work on transitioning WTM the blog, to a radio format where we’d talk about mainstream music as well as play music and interview the talented artists local to New Jersey.

Fast forward to today, it’s grown and in addition to the editorial, we host live shows, concerts, a branded podcast, A Side B Side and have a few other programs and web series in pre-production. Our mission today is the same as then, provide an outlet to artists, musicians, and anything moving in New Jersey. Our name asks and answers the question: What’s The Movement? Our audience is eclectic music listeners that want to find the diamond in the rough. People who enjoy talent over popularity in such a saturated market.”

So far throughout your career, what has been your proudest personal media moment?

“My proudest moment would have to be landing my first big name interview with the late Mac Miller on my radio show. It was only a phone interview but it meant a lot for a younger Ramsey. It was confirmation that I was definitely living in my purpose and blessed that it aligned with my passion. If I had to pick a number two it’s the moment I get to come to the mic and say thank you to the people who have supported our concerts. It’s a lot of work that goes into curating and producing events. The end result is always worth celebrating.”

What advice would you give aspiring mediapreneurs looking to enter the field? 

“Learn to become a one-man (woman) band. If you want to stay hired, companies want someone that can do it all. Be open to doing off-beat stories or things your aren’t accustomed to. Everything you want is on the other side of the fear of the unknown. Practice being in front and behind a camera. Learn how to shoot video and high-quality photos. Learn how to edit audio and video. It’s nice to work with a team but oftentimes this journey is lonely.

I hate to sound cliché but good relationships are essential. It really is who you know. Get out from behind that keyboard and phone, and go exist in real life. Network on and offline. Meet artists, fellow media folks, and have fun while you’re doing it. Otherwise, this becomes hard work instead of passion. Listen to all genres of music leisurely in addition for criticism. Lastly, sometimes doors don’t open. Nothing worth having is easy to get to. When you hear the word, ‘no’, but you know you have all the tools, what is your resolve? If you’re not invited to the table don’t be too afraid to build and set your own table. For me, eating a meal on my own has been more fulfilling than at the ‘big’ tables I’ve got to eat crumbs from.”

Support Jonathan Ramsey by visiting What’s The Movement‘s official website whatsthemovement.net and following the site’s official social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Connect with Jonathan Ramsey across social including on Instagram and Twitter.

The Independent Entertainment Media Coalition is a 501(c)(7) non-profit organization dedicated to provided financial, educational, and professional resources for freelance media figures. Help in our efforts! To make a donation, please click HERE!

Media Mogul In The Making: Meet Ashleigh Binder

Media mogul in the making, Ashleigh Binder. Photo provided by Ashleigh Binder.

This week’s featured media mogul in the making is the founder and editor-in-chief of sports new site, Sports As Told By A Girl, Ashleigh Binder. Learn more about Ashleigh’s 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?

“First of all, thank you! Honestly, I never thought of journalism as a career. I was always obsessed with the media and how celebrities and athletes were covered. I was an avid sports fan as a kid and had a major opinion about them that I wasn’t afraid to express. As a woman I was always quickly dismissed for not possibly knowing as much as men do simply because I was a female and that lit the fire!  I knew my purpose in life was to fight for equality for all women. Plus Beyoncé has a full female band and if you could be like anyone wouldn’t you chose Beyoncé?”

How did you get your start in the media field? Did you study communications in college? Internships? Hobby writing?

“I didn’t study communications until graduate school! I was a psychology major as an undergraduate student.  I always loved creative writing and always had an opinion on sports. It wasn’t until I took a class my senior year of undergrad where I even considered writing my opinion on the internet. The class required students to maintain a website and that was it. I came up with the name, Sports As Told By A Girl, within minutes of reading the directions. It was the first college class that the professor told me that I was really good at something and should keep doing it. At first I kept it as a personal blog for me to write my thoughts. However, when I graduated and realized how hard it was to get a foot in the door in sports media, I knew I wanted to expand the site. I wanted other female writers who were also looking for a safe platform to voice their honest opinions.”

Tell us how you built up your platform. What’s your mission/goals? Who’s your audience?

“My mission is to make a woman’s voice in sports a normal thing. It’s great that we’re shattering glass ceilings, but I can’t wait until a woman is hired and she’s not the first woman in the position or the first Black woman in the position. I think we are making progress towards that and I hope I am making even the smallest impact on moving the needle forward.

My audience is all sports fans. I want everyone from the casual fan to the most diehard, never miss a game fan to check out the site.  I am hoping to impact young women who want to break into sports media or media in general, but need a push to get out there.”

So far throughout your career, what has been your proudest personal media moment?

“I have two. One is that I had articles featured on Bleacher Report which is one of the biggest media outlets and an app I have on my phone which I thought was so cool! It felt like they added legitimacy to my writing.

The second moment was just recently one of the women who used to write for the site reached out to me during the height of the protests and thanked me for supporting her when she wrote about the death of Stephen Clark in Northern California and how athletes responded to it. She told me she didn’t know if it was “appropriate”, but my support pushed her to write it. That was the moment all of the hard work was worth it. I want women to feel comfortable writing about difficult topics especially ones as important as police brutality.  I want to be that support system that reminds women in a society that wants to suppress your voice, please know it needs to be heard.”

What advice would you give aspiring mediapreneurs looking to enter the field? 

“Keep going. This is honestly the hardest part. Staying motivated can be tough especially when you feel like your social media accounts aren’t growing, but you have to push through. It’s okay if you need a mental reset or break, but don’t give up! We all need a break from staring at our phones and/or laptops.

Be kind to others and most importantly yourself. It costs you absolutely nothing to be gracious when people reach out. We need more kindness in this world. More importantly, don’t beat up on yourself. If you haven’t posted in a while or you haven’t felt inspired, you are not a failure in any way. People still want your unique content. Your work is important and don’t doubt your talent.”

Support Ashleigh Binder by visiting Sports As Told By A Girl‘s official website www.sportsastoldbyagirl.com and following the site’s official social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Independent Entertainment Media Coalition is a 501(c)(7) non-profit organization dedicated to provided financial, educational, and professional resources for freelance media figures. Help in our efforts! To make a donation, please click HERE!

Media Mogul In The Making: Meet Yaba Tuffour

Media mogul in the making, Yaba Tuffour. Photo provided by Yaba Tuffour.

This week’s featured media mogul in the making is filmmaker, multimedia artist, writer, director, and podcast host, Yaba Tuffour. Learn more about Yaba’s 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 a very artsy person. Growing up I was always surrounded by art. My father played the upright bass and drew a bit. My mother is an anthropologist so she would always have African sculptures and would tell me stories about our ancestors. Because of this I would spend hours drawing or creating homemade movies with my friends. I thought I was going to go into acting, but as I auditioned more I quickly realized it is more political than it is about your talent. So I shifted gears and took more of a ‘behind the scenes’ approach to film making. My drawings turned into digital graphic designs and my interest and dedication to film making and graphic design took off from there.”

How did you get your start in the media field? Did you study communications in college? Internships? Hobby writing?

“I got started off in graphic design by creating advertisement flyers for clubs I was in while in college. I went to American University (AU) where I studied Film & Media Arts with minors in Business Administration and Studio Art. I was the outreach chair for the Black Student Alliance (BSA) and would primarily serve as liaison between BSA and other multicultural clubs. As such I created flyers to promote different club events with sponsors. I would go to the school library to use photoshop and illustrator, because at that time I couldn’t afford the program on my computer. With time I became better and got offers to create logos, event flyers, and posters.

I got started in film by accidentally walking into the wrong office for a job interview. The president of the BSA told me about an on-campus job that would film campus events like prominent guest speakers, Student Government elections, and just general news on campus. I had very limited film experience prior to the interview with the exception of a few student projects I made in class. So I was a bit nervous and didn’t really know if I was qualified, but growing-up wanting to be an actor for so long really paid off during this time, because I wasn’t going to let anybody see me shook. I walked into an office (the wrong office) and confidently announced I was here for an interview. Coincidentally they were actually looking for someone to hire, they just didn’t expect anybody so soon. Matt Fredericks took it in strides and interviewed me on the spot. I showed him my reel and told him that I’m comfortable working on Adobe programs and that I’m a very quick learner. He seemed impressed because he offered me the job on the spot. A few minutes after talking through the details of the job Rowshawn Z. walks into the office and is surprised to see me. Matt told Rowshawn she did a really good job because he didn’t expect to hire anybody so quickly, Rowshawn was shocked too and confessed that she didn’t send me here for the job and doesn’t know who I am. The conversation quickly turned into a game of clue as we tried to figure out where my real interview was and how we went for about an hour without figuring it out sooner. Once everything was cleared up Matt still offered me a job and fortunate for me I was able to reschedule my original interview and was offered that job as well. It was my first bidding war so I was really feeling myself. I ended up working with Matt at the University Communications and Marketing department as a Video Production Specialist / Office Assistant. From this job I worked with an amazing team and learned a butt load of practical film knowledge and in 2013 I was awarded an Emmy Honor for our video JFK:Building Peace for All Time. Over time I made more short films, music videos, and a few event promo videos. Recently have been accepted into the DGA Trainee Program in New York. In this program I’m training to be an assistant director and have worked on projects such as Law & Order: SVU and a new Tracey Oliver Project – currently untitled.”

Tell us how you built up your platform. What’s your mission/goals? Who’s your audience?

“I built my platforms on the basis of showcasing life from my perspective as a multimedia artist, filmmaker, podcaster, and writer/director. I don’t mindfully dedicate a lot of time to my platform because I currently have a love hate relationship with social media. I love how accessible my work is to people and I greatly appreciate the feedback I’m given but sometimes as an artistic person I get very overwhelmed and intimidated by other’s work. Because of this I’ve really shifted my goal in social media to be a visual portfolio to represent the lessons I’ve learned in my projects. For example if you look at the beginning of my IG (FilmFrik) you will see Marvelous, a short film about finding happiness when everything seems to be conspiring against you. Then you’ll see Color Me, an artistic video and photo series dedicated to skin color. Recently I’ve been working on the You Go Gurl Podcast, a podcast I co-host that focuses on kitchen table talk conversations about life, news, and experiences of black women and men.”

So far throughout your career, what has been your proudest personal media moment?

“My proudest personal media moment has to be my photo series at Afropunk and Curlfest. I have been working on Tender Head, a short film about a tender headed black girl finding her black girl magic through her hair. I took my camera to Afropunk and Curlfest about a year ago and interviewed people on their favorite hairstyles, their worst hair-stories, and other general questions about their relationship between themselves and their hair. I was able to meet a lot of different people and got some great stories from strangers. It really motivates me to continue to tell this story and to tell it properly because it is the through-line of every black girl.”

What advice would you give aspiring mediapreneurs looking to enter the field?

“If I was to give any advice to mediapreneurs I would say embrace failure and be bold. I’ve spoken a bit about how social media can become overwhelming and intimidating to artists, and I think that’s the part that I hear a lot of artistic people struggle with. They struggle with executing their ideas because they overthink the technicalities, worry about how it will be perceived, or generally have a lack of confidence in their abilities. When I start to see myself get into that frame of mind I have to tell myself, ‘fuck ‘em.’ There’s always going to be a troll and there will always be an excuse not to do something, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying. Whether your attempt is great or not you will inevitably learn from the experience. I’ve made so much crap work and have almost given up because I thought I should be better by now, but that’s the amazing thing about the media industry. There is so much appreciation and support for different styles and techniques regardless of skill level. The film with horrible lighting or ‘cheap’ production value might be hated by a few but loved by many. Failure is not always as bad as you think it is, but you have to be bold to find out.”

Connect with Yaba Tuffour on Instagram to keep up with her. To learn more about her short film Tender Head, check out its official Instagram page. To view the latest episodes of the You Go Gurl podcast, click HERE.

The Independent Entertainment Media Coalition is a 501(c)(7) non-profit organization dedicated to provided financial, educational, and professional resources for freelance media figures. Help in our efforts! To make a donation, please click HERE!