Radio interviews…. cool because I don’t have to worry about how I look, just how I sound. But will I get my message across with clarity and authority?
When I interned at the Women’s Media Center in NYC in 2008 I learned that women are less likely than men to refer to themselves as experts. This is reflected and reinforced in news media, a domain where for many years women were excluded from delivering serious news topics because their ‘high-pitched’ voices were deemed as not authoritative.
I was taken aback one afternoon when the President of the WMC, renowned journalist Carol Jenkins, assured the other interns and I that we are ALL experts on at least three topics. As we ate lunch together she asked us to list three areas that we could speak on with authority. It’s important that we realize we all have experience and knowledge that is worth sharing, she said. We all have a message to share with the world.
Upon listening to a radio interview I did last year, Jenkins’ advice resonates with me even more. Women’s voices should be equally represented in the media, as voices of authority. Women can help this reality materialize by not only holding media institutions accountable, but by daring to become those voices.
Honestly, I was scared shitless in my first radio interview if you can’t tell by my quiet, wavering voice. And clearly I have room for improvement. Despite my stuttering and shyness however, I realize that my voice is worthy of being heard. Using resources like the Women’s Media Center will help me craft my messages, and write them or speak them with authority. And taking advantage of media opportunities like the radio program ”She Speaks Truth” is critical. With more practice I will become a better speaker and writer, just like Carol Jenkins herself, an author and Emmy award-winning former news anchor and correspondent.
And if I can do it, (a bumbling, feisty, but shy graduate student), anyone can do it.
Here’s an interview I did on BSR 88.1 FM. last year. We are discussing “Who’s That Girl: Women of Color and Hip Hop” a reincarnation of my first documentary “Reflections on Women of Color and Hip Hop: A student documentary”.
The program, (then called ‘Ladies First’ and currently titled ‘She Speaks Truth’) is hosted by Satta on Brown Student & Community Radio in Providence, Rhode Island.