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MSNBC Host Joy Reid Joins Newhouse NYC Faculty

joy-red_dress-1140x1080By Marisa Ramel

Joy Reid may be known as “AM Joy” to her MSNBC viewers on Saturday and Sunday mornings, but on Wednesday evenings she’s Professor Reid. As the newest faculty member to join Syracuse University’s Newhouse NYC program, Joy is teaching Race, Gender, and the Media–a powerful topic she covers constantly as the host of “AM Joy,” a regular contributor to “Meet the Press,” “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” and “The Rachel Maddow Show,” and even as a special guest last week on “The Daily Show.”


Passionate and driven, Joy has contributed to almost every type of media. She writes a weekly column for The Daily Beast and is the author of two books, We Are the Change We Seek: the Speeches of Barack Obama (Bloomsbury, 2017) and Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons and the Racial Divide (William Morrow, 2015). Prior to joining MSNBC, she was the host of “The Reid Report,” and managing editor of, a daily online news site devoted to stories that reflect and affect African-American audiences. Joy even helped with press during the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns.

Here, Joy discusses her new teaching gig, challenges facing the media in the digital age and especially in the Trump administration, and what she hopes her students will come away with by the end of the semester.

How is the class going, and what are the main highlights?
My first-ever class! The students seem really engaged, they ask great questions, they’re a really smart group. They liked the final project, which is good. It’s a Humans of New York, so they have to take a photo of one, two, three, or four people, and then they write a Humans of New York caption of them. The goal is to step outside of their own racial group or gender group, and do a Humans of New York about someone who is not like them.

What have you learned on the job that you hope to impart to the class?
One of the things that I’ve learned from being in the media a long time that I hope to impart to these students is that there actually are objective facts, and the media’s job is to find them. Especially now because we’re going into a very strange time in terms of the incoming administration, which is unlike any administration we’ve had, in terms of its looseness with fact and its misuse of fact and the truth. The media isn’t set up to deal with it. And I think if we’re going to safeguard our future for the next generation of students, we actually have to develop a little more backbone about finding a real fact, being fair about trying to find it, and then being emphatic that a fact’s a fact.

What do you hope the students come away with by the end of the semester?
Where you grow up and how you grow up can insulate you in a lot of ways from the experiences of other people. And one of the great things about college is it does expose you to people from different regions, from different backgrounds that you might not have ever met in your own town. It’s one of the best things about college.

I remember the experience of somebody when I started my freshman year of Harvard saying, “Can I touch your hair?” And I was like, “No you can’t touch my hair! You can’t pet me, I’m not a dog.” But it’s a big country, right? And people grow up in a town and sometimes they really have a town where everyone is like that. It is what it is. That’s why college is important. And so what we want to do is take that inexperience and concentrate it a little more, so that students think more critically across racial and gender and other lines.

What inspired you to take this next step in your career?
My mother was a college professor at the University of Northern Colorado. It’s funny because she was always telling me to do something else (she wanted me to be a doctor!). But I’m inspired because she was really my personal hero.

I’ve also done a lot of talks and lectures in colleges for students over the last two years, and I just find it inspiring. I think this is one of the most dynamic generations that we’ve ever had in terms of their command of technology. But they also don’t have the advantage of some of the things that we had. We used to read a newspaper every morning. We had a common set of believable facts on the ground that we could all trust in. We trusted that when something was coming over the evening news, it was real, it wasn’t a conspiracy. They have access to all the information, and they also have the ability to have manipulated information shoved at them 24/7.

One thing you wish you knew when you were starting out in your career?
I wish I had been more open to the idea of networking. I hated the idea. And I think for young people the idea of networking has a bad name. But it’s really a huge advantage if you realize it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. It’s who remembers your name, and remembers meeting you, and remembers you that matters a lot.

Walk us through a day in the life of Joy.
I get up as early as I can stand, and I’ll have maybe a radio call-in [that I take] in the car on my way to work. Then we’ll do show prep with my “AM Joy” team. I’ll work with them throughout the day, and also work on my Daily Beast column that’s due every Friday. I’ll do prime time guest spots for MSNBC maybe three nights a week [on “All In with Chris Hayes,” “The Rachel Maddow Show,” or “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell”], so I do a lot of research and reading for that.

And then Saturdays and Sundays we do the [“AM Joy”] show. My car comes to get me at 7:15am, which is brutal! After the Saturday show, we do show prep for the Sunday show. And show prep really just means we meet on Wednesdays, we decide what we want in the show, the producers go off and start writing and producing the segments, and then I go back in and edit the scripts and tweak them, and then we actually do the show Saturdays and Sundays. And then we just prepare to do it all again!

Hidden talent that might surprise your students?
My hidden talent is probably my nerdy Snapchat videos. I dunno, is that a talent?

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Photo credit: MSNBC

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Dorett Duncan Browne #

    All I can say is ‘wow and remarkable’! Heartiest congratulations to Joy and to the Newhouse NYC Faculty!


    January 25, 2017
  2. Jeanne #

    Happy for joy!


    January 25, 2017
  3. Stefi Adler #

    I’m in St Petersburg, Fl & 70yrs young. So happy for you! Wish I could audit your classes. Any way?


    January 25, 2017
  4. I am so happy for you,you are a great reporter, God bless you, and don’t leave,the Sat, and Sunday show we need good reporter like you.


    January 25, 2017
  5. William Danzy #

    Good luck!


    January 25, 2017
  6. Patrick Douglas #

    You are an inspiration for me professionally. After the rearrangement at MSNBC regarding The Reid Report, you dealt with like a pro. Reporting from on the road all over the place, your enthusiasm for the job never weaned and you were dignified and delivered news with context and history. Thank you.


    January 25, 2017
  7. Thank You for sharing AWESOME 🙂


    January 25, 2017
  8. Gary Hopson #

    I am so proud of you Joy and this opportunity couldn’t have come to a better person, congratulations.


    January 25, 2017
  9. Congratulations, Joy! You’re the best. Really.


    January 25, 2017
  10. lagunadeb #

    Joy should have gotten the 6pm slot on MSNBC, not Greta from Fox. It seems at times Greta forgets she’s not on Fox anymore. I watched her 2 times and her tone, her unnecessary aggressiveness put me off. Her voice gave me a headache. Those are just some of the reasons Greta should not have been made a featured talk host. The main reason is Joy is a better interviewer and has a sharper mind for facts, not alternate facts like Fox promotes. Joy Reid, you are supercalifragilistic and a wonderful human being.


    January 25, 2017
  11. Helga Emde #

    Professor Joy Reid, congratulation, hope you still will be seen and heard at AM Joy, because there is no alternative. Congratulation Professor Reid. Know, that you are loved, supported and admired. Go for it. Be well, stay well. Your Black German sister in solidarity.


    January 25, 2017
  12. Rosemary S. Bonner #

    I don’t miss an AM Joy show. Sometimes have to record it, though. Wished you were on all during the week. I just retired after 44yrs as an RN. Reading your two books is on my list of things to do. Continue being an excellent journalist Joy, and reporting the facts. You are quite a gem! MSNBC is lucky to have you, and congratulations on becoming a professor. The best of luck to you, and God bless!


    January 25, 2017
  13. Andrea Smith #

    Congratulations Joy! You do such a great job and you certainly will be fantastic for Newhouse NYC. As a New Hampshire senior….I am scared for seniors and our country. We have worked hard for so long and are facing the fact that someone who cannot construct a complete sentence is in charge. I pray there are more people like you out there. God bless Joy Reid…you are awesome!


    January 25, 2017
  14. Luv U, Joy Reid from a 74-year-old, Afrian-Amerian, SeasonedSistah, retired and now living in Orlado Fl. You are my SHERO!


    January 26, 2017
  15. Michelle Glamton #

    Congrats JOY I think you’re very special and a very smart woman!


    January 27, 2017

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