Journalist Joy-Ann Reid delivers first Wells lecture
MSNBC national correspondent takes part in weeklong WFU residency
By Tevin Stinson
Joy-Ann Reid, MSNBC national correspondent, took part in a weeklong residency hosted by the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University (WFU) the week of Oct. 12.
Melissa Harris-Perry, director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center, said she was excited to have Reid deliver the first Ida B. Wells lecture for the center.
“The center is especially honored to welcome Joy Reid as our inaugural Ida B. Wells expert.” said Harris-Perry, who hosts a weekend show on MSNBC. “Reid’s work and career reflect the impactful intersection of journalism and advocacy that Wells herself maintained. We have no doubt that Reid will raise issues of critical inquiry that will challenge our community in ways that will resonate long after her residency.”
Before delivering her lecture titled, “The Myth of Objectivity: How The Media Quest For ‘Fairness and ‘Balance’ Biases Coverage Against Out-Groups,” on Oct. 14, Reid spoke to The Chronicle.
Over the years, Reid said she has not been afraid to voice her opinions on race relations in this country. In her new book, “Fracture: Barack Obama, The Clintons and the Racial Divide,” Reid traces the makeup of the Democratic Party from the Civil Rights days to the Obama presidency.
“When I started writing the book, it was 2013. I was doing a lot of thinking about the history of the Civil Rights Movement and the 1960s,” said Reid. “I was also doing a lot of thinking about what President Obama has dealt with while in office when it comes to issues of race.”
During the time Reid started writing the book, many Americans assumed that Hillary Clinton would run for president in the election, so she decided to pull all those together. The book examines the complicated relationship between Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton, and their various approaches to race issues.
“I really wanted to write a book just about 1964, but I wasn’t going to get away with that,” said Reid. “So I decided to include information about the upcoming presidential election.”
During here weeklong stay on the campus, Reid engaged with students and community members, shared expertise with faculty, and was a guest teacher for a number of courses. The residency was named after Ida B. Wells-Barnett, who was an African- American journalist and activist who led an anti-lynching crusade in the United States in the 1890s.
The Anna Julia Cooper Center supports, generates and communicates innovative research at the intersections of gender, race and place.
Before joining MSNBC, Reid served as the managing editor of theGrio.com, a daily online news and opinion platform devoted to delivering stories that affect African- American audiences.
When she got the news that she would be delivering that Ida B. Wells lecture, Reid said she was scared and excited at the same time.
“I remember when I first got the news, there was a mixture of intimidation and joy,” laughed Reid. “I was overjoyed to be chosen to deliver the lecture, but terrified at the same time because it had been so long since I had been on a college campus. I was worried about being able to connect with the students.”
Reid said that she hoped that during her stay at Wake Forest that she was able to pass on information to the students that will help them in the future.
“I think this is a great opportunity,” said Reid. “Any time I get a chance to share knowledge with students that will help them be better journalists, I’m all for it.”