April 20, 2021

The Collective, Poynter’s monthly newsletter by and for journalists of color (and our allies), begins publishing April 28. We’re excited about a subscriber-only feature of the newsletter: career advice for journalists of all levels answered by our Council of Truth-tellers.

Let’s meet our first group of Truth-Tellers. They were selected for their breadth of life experience (including age, geography and sexual orientation) and their collective wisdom about how to navigate some of the obstacles that JOCs will commonly encounter. They are ready to answer your questions (which you may pose anonymously), so ask away.

Leah Donnella

Age: 30
Pronouns: She/her/hers
Current role: Editor on NPR’s Code Switch team
Current city: Washington, D.C.
Twitter: @AskLeezul

Leah created the “Ask Code Switch” segment for NPR. “Receiving good advice is one of my favorite things,” she said. “I love hearing the various ways people approach an issue and the creative tools for making a situation better.”

Conversations about race came up frequently as Leah grew up as part of a multiracial family in the Philadelphia suburbs: “My parents both come from different backgrounds, but they share a passion for racial justice.”

Leah got her start in journalism as an intern at WHYY, where she helped teach high school students to interview people on the street. She says it’s important for journalists — regardless of experience — “to have a support system outside of work, including people, hobbies and places.” Leah’s escape is cooking.

Jan Mireles Larson

Age: 60
Pronouns: She/her/hers
Current role: chair, Department of Communication and Journalism, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Current city: Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Twitter: @JournalistJan

“I’ve spent a lifetime finding ways to be seen and, as Einstein said, ‘See the world with my own eyes and my own heart.’ I’m someone people turn to for advice and guidance,” Jan said. “I’m pretty much everyone’s mom.”

Her career before she turned to teaching — and now leading an entire academic department — included working in newsrooms from Alaska to New York. She covered a U.S. Senate race, reported on government, education and business, worked as a newsroom editor and columnist, was a contributing writer to American Demographics and is currently a contributing writer to Wisconsin Public Radio.

Corey Rose

Age: 21
Pronouns: He/him/his
Current role: Graduate Student, University of California, Berkeley
Current city: Jacksonville, Florida (soon to be Oakland, California)
Twitter: @CoreyARose

Corey — who majored in journalism with minors in theater and communication at Florida Atlantic University — is a copy editor for The Paradigm Press, the first Black student newspaper at a predominantly white institution, and founder of the Black Undergraduate Theatre Collective, the school’s first Black student arts advocacy group. He is a writer for South Florida Gay News, and this fall, he’ll attend the University of California, Berkeley to study audio journalism.

He is the student representative for the South Florida chapter of NLGJA and is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. “As someone who sits at the intersection of Black and LGBT,” he said, “I know how oppression can affect one’s ability to move through life, in and out of one’s career.”

Related:

The Collective is supported by the TEGNA Foundation.

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As director of training and diversity at Poynter, Doris Truong is responsible for overseeing in-person training — at the institute and in newsrooms — as…
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