Joy-Ann Reid Dishes On MSNBC’s “The Reid Report”
Joy-Ann Reid is on a roll. Stepping down from her role as managing editor for theGrio, the political analyst is now the host of MSNBC’s The Reid Report, a daily news program highlighting the hottest headlines.
According to Reid, the transition has a been a bit taxing, but with guest appearances from Smokey Robinson and Bethann Hardison already under her belt, she has no plans to slow down anytime soon. JET caught up with Reid to discuss the show’s development, favorite guests and how she plans on keeping it real.
JET: How did the opportunity to create your own program for MSNBC originate?
Joy-Ann Reid: There were a lot of changes that were taking place on the inside. The opportunity opened up where they were looking for someone to provide point-of-view content in the daytime. I had been filling in for a number of different shows for about a year including Melissa Harris-Perry, Hardball and I did The Last Word once. I did the rounds of filling in for different programs so I was one of the people to be considered to be added to this line-up and was able to land an opportunity.
JET: How does The Reid Report different from other content on MSNBC?
JR: All of the shows are different because of the person bringing the information. We all have our unique takes and personalities. What we’re trying to do is bring the news by doing different things with social media and crowd sourcing, in terms of having that two-way conversation with viewers. We feel like we’re bringing something unique because the point of view is different with my life experiences and perspectives.
JET: Tell me more about those life experiences.
JR: I see myself as representing the regular viewer. I try to ask the questions that I would ask if I was at home watching. I have a real curiosity about current issues such as foreign policy. There are a lot of basic facts that people assume others are sharing when they’re not. My goal for each segment is to explain the basics of what this means and to take our audience seriously and to understand they’re an intelligent audience that wants more information, not less. As far as my personal background, my parents are both immigrants. They came here to go to school. We were one of the first immigrant families in our neighborhood. That in itself is kind of a differentiator sometimes. It’s the way I look at the country and its history. I have my mother’s point of view. I didn’t really come into the news business as a veteran of this business. I’ve had other careers, so I feel [I] sometimes [offer] an outsider’s point of view.
JET: Why is it important for women in particular to keep up with current events?
JR: There’s no such thing as a woman’s niche. Women are the majority, the head of decisions such as household spending and the majority of voters. It’s important for women to stay well rounded and well informed. There are countries that have had a woman president or prime minister and we have not. Liberia, Israel, the United Kingdom and even Pakistan have. It’s a shame that we haven’t been able to do that in the U.S. That doesn’t mean women are a full functioning part of our politics. They need to be. That’s how you become a first-world democracy.
JET: Is it important for The Reid Report to be a platform for women?
JR: I feel like that is important to represent that view that is me, sitting home and listening to these issues. I do feel like that’s a part of what I get to do there.
JET: Who has been your most exciting guest so far?
JR: It’s hard to choose, but it was great to have Gloria Steinem on. We had Smokey Robinson on our first show. It’s great because you get to meet cool and interesting people in this job. I like all of the guests we have on the show because they all bring something different to the table. I like the wonky ones who can explain the intricacies of Middle Eastern policies to the ones who bring something fun. We can do the serious news as well as have some fun.
JET: As a print reporter, did you experience any difficulties transiting television?
JR: I still write for the Miami Herald. I’ll always be a writer. [Television] is just a different discipline, especially with the hours. I haven’t gotten up this early since I did talk radio, so I’m adjusting to the timetable, which has been pretty difficult. With writing you don’t have to get up at 4 or 5 a.m., you can get up at 10 a.m. and write. I still write every day as a part of the show. The most difficult part is television is it’s more of a group process, whereas writing is more of solo thing. That was the biggest adjustment for me. It takes a lot of people to put a show on the air.
JET: Why should viewers tune into The Reid Report?
JR: One of things I found out about this job is how important it is for Black girls and Black women to have someone like them on television. It’s very heartening. It was a little surprising, but I realize it’s a huge responsibility because people do care that their perspective is out there. The responsibility to the facts and the news is important but we mix it up, all in one hour a day.
JET: Do you have any advice for aspiring journalists?
JR: You’re better off getting trained in another discipline. A lot of what media companies are looking for is interest in a specific topic. I meet a lot of people going for communications degrees because they want to be on air. A lot of the people who are already in the job aren’t going anywhere. It’s a very specific position. If you develop an expertise in something, then you’re going to be better off than just learning the television discipline.