Selena Hill is the walking definition of today’s journalist. You can attach these labels to her African-American woman, millennial, and multi-media journalist from Queens, New York. She is armed with a smart phone that becomes a voice recorder to capture audio and camera where she can shoot videos and take pictures. She conducts her work transitioning different topics and platforms.
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, co-host on Let’s Be Heard Radio on WHCR (90.3) in New York City, and a contributing reporter on What’s Eating Harlem on NYC Television. Black Enterprise is mostly business news. There I work with managing editor on stories and different media appearances I will make for future events. I work with our contributing writers and collaborate with them on different projects and sponsored events for Black Enterprise. So it’s a lot of scheduling and planning. In addition to being a journalist, I’m like a brand ambassador for Black Enterprise. On my radio show, we talk about society’s issues from a millennial perspective in a very real way. I coordinate the show, book the guests, and work with the interns. We have interviewed Senator Cory Booker, Russell Simmons, and Mayor Bill De Blasio, just to name a few. On What’s Harlem Eating Harlem, I interview all the movers and shakers culturally in the community. My specific segment focuses on style and fashion in Harlem. I also book guests for my segment and fill in sometimes for the main host Vanessa Tyler, a veteran journalist. I am very grateful to work with Vanessa, a veteran journalist, who spends hours working on the show. I’m also a co-anchor on Bold Business , a digital news network that showcases diverse voices committed to social change. It streams live on Facebook.
The Source: How would you define a millennial journalist?
Selena Hill: I take my role and career very seriously. I always felt that I want be the voice for the voiceless. My radio show allows me to do that the most because I control 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. 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: I think by being authentic and different it shows in my work. I’m not seeing too many female journalists of color that do so many platforms. I love every platform of media and I want to do the work in a socially conscious way. Competition is not really relevant because being my authentic self there is no competition. I need to be the best I can be. For the world, 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. Everyone is going for their preference. My goal isn’t to be 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 publication, but we do cover other issues if there is a business slant to it. I do more trending stories like the recent vandalisation of Lebron James’s Los Angeles home or the noose discovered at the National Museum of African American history in D.C. I do long form pieces and opinion.
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 Radio One 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 interest on her. Even a person like Angela Rye. Everyone talks about her now, but I was following her for five years before she broke through. I was watching her old videos and following her on social media and now she is having her moment. I think it will happen for everyone in their own time whether it’s for Tami Lahren at 22 or April Ryan at 49. I think it will happen for me, but it will happen on God’s time. Right now, I’m working with a media coach and a speech pathologist so when that moment comes I’ll be ready. If someone offered me a national show now I would turn it down, but a year from now I would be like let’s go.
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 media 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. I also hope to be working full-time as an entrepreneur in the media landscape producing socially conscious content online. I also hope to be doing more national appearances, more paid speaking engagements, and building 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 non-denominational devout Christian. Things I prayed for I think God is opening those doors. There were times when I thought my career wasn’t moving as fast as I would like, I think God was teaching me a lesson. Probably to say 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. I have no problem professing my faith. I also want to say I really love working at Black Enterprise, love my colleagues, and it’s a great place to work.
Let’s 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.