Natasha S. Alford was recently honored for being a leading lady in media by Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack during the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) annual conference in Detroit. Jack Daniel’s “Leading Ladies in Media” private dinner reception honored both Alford and trailblazing Alford is an award winning journalist, Afro Latina advocate, and the deputy editor and host for The Grio who prides herself on being a storyteller that brings light to the untold stories that impact Black America.
Rolling out had the opportunity to speak with Alford during the reception about being honored, where she sees the future of Black media going and also gives aspiring journalists advice on how to prepare for a career in media.
How does it feel to be an honoree during this year’s NABJ conference?
It is an amazing feeling. I feel so grateful, so excited that everyone came together tonight to recognize women in media. You know, [for] women, we are finding our voices in new ways, we’re being heard in new ways, whether it’s on TV, radio or online, and I love that I get to represent for The Grio. We are an African American, Black owned outlet, one of the few. And we’re telling stories that you don’t always see on the news. So, I’m just honored that I get to be a storyteller every day, and tonight is a celebration of that.
Tell us, where do you see the future of media going, especially for Black journalists.
To me, the future of the media is very bright. I think we’re hearing from different voices that we don’t traditionally hear from. Social media has changed that. There are people who build their own audiences. They focus on their own topics, whether it’s something fun or whether it’s something really serious. And I think that diversity of voices is really important and it forces people to listen to our issues. But what I also think is important is that we celebrate what’s going on in the African American community. We just saw LeBron James just open up a brand new school, and that’s a positive achievement. It’s not always about struggle. It’s also about giving back. So, I think we should highlight those stories, the good things that are happening in our community, even when people aren’t famous. So, that’s what I would like to see for Black media. I think we’re already on the way, and I think we are going to see more of that.
Share with us some encouragement for the young people in media. What should they be doing? How should they prepare for a career in media?
If you are a young person who wants to be in media, you are living at the best time ever because you have the internet, you have YouTube, you have blogs. There are ways to be heard without having to ask somebody for permission. So, if you have a voice and you have a story that you want to tell, go out and tell that story. But, it’s important to perfect your craft, to be good at what you do. Practice every day in front of a camera, write every day. It’s like working out and lifting weights, you get stronger the more you do. I think sometimes we want to be successful, people want that fancy title, they want to get to the top. But you really have to put in that work every single day. And at a time like this when you have access to information anywhere, there’s always something to learn, and there are great people to learn from. So, go out, put in that work, don’t give up, your time is coming and you will get to where you want to be.