An award-winning reporter who writes for the Miami Herald, Jacqueline Charles is practically the prototype of a successful print journalist. A graduate of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Charles was honored by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) for her coverage of an earthquake in Haiti in the early 2010s. She received a Regional Emmy for the documentary Nou Bouke: Haiti’s Past, Present and Future. She’s also been a recipient of the sought-after Society of Professional Journalists Delta Sigma Chi Award.
But long before being a recipient of these prestigious accolades, the Turks and Caicos-born, Florida-raised news scribe had made her mark as a journalist of caliber through years of reporting excellence. What are the principles that got her to where she is? Shall we examine them in the Kreyolicious series you’ve learned to love…the 5 Success Principles We Can Learn From Jacqueline Charles?
Above: Charles (in royal blue) during a panel discussion at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. [Photo Credit: Melia Samant]
1. Whatever it is you want to do, start early.
After graduating from Miami Jackson Senior High School, Charles moved to North Carolina to attend the University of North Carolina’s School of Journalism—one of the nation’s highest ranking schools in the nation. While there, she begun exercising her skills on the staff of The Daily Tar Heel, the campus newspaper. The clips she built at that paper would help her land her first job out of college. While at UNC, Charles carved leadership roles for herself. According to Jordan Nash, Charles was a co-founder of the Carolina Association of Black Journalists and edited the campus’ black student publication Black Ink Magazine.
2. When you’ve committed an error, admit it.
When Charles makes errors on the social media platform Twitter, she quickly tweets retractions and corrections. It’s not like any of us humans are infallible. When you admit when you’re wrong, you will get the admiration of even your detractors. What’s more, folks will put more faith in you, and respect you and your work. You know you’ve got respect when the sayimg “I won’t believe it until I see Jacqueline Charles tweet it,” becomes the phrase of the day.
3. Become known for something.
Oh, the beauty of specialization! Jacqueline Charles graduated from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism. Journalism school graduates are aplenty, and according to statistics compiled by the UNC School of Journalism, at most graduation ceremonies an average of 400 students leave the university with that dual degree. How was Charles going to make herself the pear among many apples? She took a position at the Miami Herald as a governmental reporter, and went from there. Speaking of which…
4. There’s nothing wrong with some career exploration within your field.
Prior to her current specialization as the Caribbean Correspondent, Charles served as a general assignment reporter, an education reporter, and even worked the social affairs beat at one point. So, yes, it’s good to explore different areas within your field. You just have to make sure that you’re not on a quest for perpetual exploration. You truly don’t want to be the person who’s always kicking the tires in this and that field, but never seem to make up his or her mind about a field. One must have a degree of stability in one’s career.
5. Stay awake for opportunity can come like a thief in the night.
In Charles’ case, it was an earthquake in the afternoon. Up to that point, she may not have covered a catastrophe of that magnitude, but armed with her passport and her reporting skills, the Caribbean-focused reporter traveled to Haiti and received an exclusive with Haiti’s then-prez Rene Preval, and gave the whole planet on-the-ground views of the happenings. Her intrepid coverage of the earthquake would later earn her Pulitzer Finalist standing.
There you have it folks…the 5 Success Principles We Can Learn from Jacqueline Charles, Reporter and Journalist, as seen by your girl Kreyolicious.
CLICK HERE TO KEEP UP WITH JACQUELINE CHARLES ON TWITTER
CLICK HERE TO READ OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES