Tamika Smith is a weekend news anchor and reporter at NPR’s WAMU 88.5. Guest blog author, Sanarah Missouri, says, “I always find it fascinating to learn from individuals in the media industry. They either possess a great personality, ambition, or courage and she has it all!
Her knowledge and experiences have helped her to become the incredible journalist she is today.”
Sanarah, a Loebig Ink summer intern, recently spoke with Smith in a one-on-one interview:
1. Career influences
My career began when I was a 13-year-old in Miami, Florida with NBC 6 Junior Broadcaster program. At that specific point, I was introduced to journalism and fell in love with it. I started to pursue my career in high school. The program introduced me to being a reporter and an anchor. I also learned how to edit and the different ins and outs of being a part of a news program. From that point on, I decided to continue with the career.
2. Biggest Career Success
My biggest career success up-to-date will have to be hosting for NPR’s WAMU 88.5. It is one of the top 10 stations in the nation. I also make an effort to consistently give back while I pursue my career. It can be very challenging, but I make time for speaking to and mentoring young people in this industry.
3. Recent Lessons Learned
Being great at your craft is very important, but being a good person is as important. I’m someone that can find humor in a situation that is very intense. No one wants to be around a “Debbie Downer”.
4. What Inspires and Motivates
Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of role models to emulate when I was growing in the field of journalism. It wasn’t until I got to college, at Howard University, that I started being able to meet different journalists of color and started to have people that I could look up to. Early in my career, I was introduced to various women such as Michel Martin, Michele Norris, and Mary Major. Being able to work with these women of color and seeing women in leadership positions in the industry gave me the courage to believe that I can do the same thing.
5. Share a Leadership Story
In December 2010, I was working at AOL’s Patch.com and I just came back from doing a story about a teacher at Montgomery Blair High School. I was getting ready to sit down at a coffee shop when I received a call.
I was one of the first journalists on the scene. It was very intense with people running past me. I immediately started tweeting and called my editor. I was leading the coverage at the time because no one was in that vicinity of downtown Silver Spring.
6. Your Top Two
a. “Throw me to the wolves and I will return leading the pack” –Unknown.
b. “Be the change you wish to see in the world”– Mathama Ghandi.
7. About Tamika Smith
Tamika Smith is a multimedia journalist in the D.C. area. She reports on various local issues, from politics to the environment. Smith is currently an anchor/reporter for NPR’s WAMU 88.5
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