Selena Hill is the walking definition of today’s journalist. She is an African-American woman,millennial, and multi-media journalist from Queens, New York. Hill is armed with a smart phone that becomes a voice recorder to capture audio and camera where she can shoot videos and take pictures. With it, she is able to conduct her work and transition different platforms throughout the week. Hill sat down with The Source to talk about her life as a multi-media journalist.
The Source: You do so many things from reporting the news, co-hosting a radio show and a podcast, contributing to a culture and society program on television, and now co-hosting a web news show that broadcasts on the internet. How would you label yourself?
Selena Hill: I label myself as a multi-media journalist. I am the digital editor at Black Enterprise, Executive Producer and Co-host on Let Your Voice Be Heard Radio on WHCR (90.3 FM) in New York City, and a Contributing Reporter on What’s Eating Harlem on NYC Life. Black Enterprise is mostly business news. I edit stories, write my own, and cover different events around the country. I also work with our contributing writers. On my radio show Let Your Voice Be Heard, we talk about social issues from a millennial perspective in a very raw way. I mainly coordinate the show. I do most of the guest booking, help plan out the segments, and train the interns. On the show we interviewed Senator Cory Booker, Russell Simmons, and Mayor Bill De Blasio, just to name a few of the guests. On What’s Eating Harlem, my specific segment focuses on style and fashion and I interview movers and shakers in the community. I also book guests for my segment and fill in sometimes for the main host Vanessa Tyler, a veteran journalist. I’m also a co-anchor on Bold Business, a division of the Bold TV. The program streams live on Facebook. (Bold TV is digital news network for a diverse coalition of passionate people committed to positive social change partnered with Al Roker Labs and Silicon Harlem.)
The Source: How would you define a millennial journalist?
Selena Hill: I take my role and career very seriously. I always felt that I wanted to be a voice for the voiceless. My radio show allows me to do that the most because I have control over it. In today’s world, news is more opinionated. People want you to be authentic. I’m not afraid to take certain positions and speak my mind. That’s something that journalism needs. My grandmother used to watch Fox News and I saw how her views changed. I think it’s important to state my opinion and include that in my work, it’s more of a service to people.
The Source: As a journalist who covers different topics on different platforms you must get a lot of story pitches, invites to events, etc. What is your email inbox like?
Selena Hill: For my Black Enterprise email, I try to keep it to less than ten unread emails per day. For my personal email, I have over 8,000 emails and they are an accumulation of story pitches, junk email, and invitations to events, etc. So it’s hard to keep up with that.
The Source: There is so much competition in the media landscape now and there are more voices fighting for their place in this new landscape. How do you view competition?
Selena Hill: Competition is not really relevant. Society teaches us there can be only one female black journalist and that’s just not true. I honestly think that there is room for all of us. My goal isn’t to beat the best, I just want to be the best I can be.
The Source: Since you cover so many different issues in your career, what are your favorite issues to cover?
Social issues and politics are my favorite stories to cover. Black Enterprise is a business oriented publication that primarily focuses on financial freedom and black economic empowerment. I focus on more trending stories like the recent vandalism of Lebron James’s Los Angeles home or the noose discovered at the National Museum of African American History in Washington D.C.
The Source: How do you feel about the emergence of different women of color on the national scene in media?
Selena Hill: I think everyone has their time. April Ryan from American Urban Radio Networks is having her moment now. She is on a book tour and has been picked up by CNN as an analyst. She has been on the scene for years. When she had that back and forth with Sean Spicer, it kind of sparked that a higher level of interest in her. Even a person like Angela Rye. Everyone talks about her now, but I was following her for five years. I was watching her old videos and following her on social media. Now she is having her moment. I think it will happen for everyone in their own time whether it’s for Tomi Lahren at 22 or April Ryan at 49. I think it will happen for me, but it will happen on God’s time.
The Source: Media has changed in the last few years in so many different ways. What is your future outlook on the state of media?
Selena Hill: I see the future being digital and on demand media. That’s where the trend is going. There are television series on YouTube people can access on their own time as well as radio shows and podcasts. I get Huffington Post and Vox updates on my phone. Social media is playing a key role creating content and will become even more paramount in the future. Donald Trump tweets and makes the news every day. Digital media and social media are going to be intertwined because that’s where people get their news. Media companies are competing with social media. I think smart media companies will have their platforms live on social media or function like one.
The Source: Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
Selena Hill: I hope to be a mother and a wife working as an executive at a media outlet with a social conscious that reaches people of color. Eventually, I aspire to work full-time for my own media platform producing socially conscious content. I hope to continue to do more national appearances, paid speaking engagements, and build my own brand.
The Source: Do you have any last words for readers of The Source that want to know about Selena Hill?
Selena Hill: An important aspect of my career has been my faith, I’m a devout Christian.There were times I thought my career wasn’t moving as fast as I would have liked, but I think God was teaching me a lesson. Probably that I wasn’t ready. I needed that lesson in patience and humility. Now that my career has changed drastically for the better, I think God played a major part in that.
Let Your Voice Be Heard Radio broadcasts on Sundays 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. on WHCR (90.3)
Bold Business broadcasts on Tuesdays 9-10 a.m. on Facebook.
What’s Eating Harlem broadcasts on Wednesdays 9:30 p.m. on NYC Media Channels.