Jami Floyd Brings a Focus on Racial and Social Injustice to the Public Media Newsroom

Jami Floyd is an attorney, the Senior Editor for the Race and Justice Unit at New York Public Radio and ​​the Legal Editor in the WNYC Newsroom. She helped create the Race and Justice Unit in September 2020 as a resource to ensure that all New York Public Radio stories are considered through the lens of race, racial injustice and other inequities and inequalities. 

Creating the Race and Justice Unit fulfilled one of Jami’s long-term goals. Earlier in her career, Jami had worked on the Law and Justice Unit in commercial media with ABC News. 

“When I got to WNYC, in June of 2015, I started to think about ways in which we could, in public media, be very intentional about covering the courts, the jails and the broken criminal justice system,” Jami explains. 

A company trip to The Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama crystallized Jami’s vision. The powerful museum explains the links from enslavement to the modern criminal justice system. The trip also included a sobering visit to The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, a site dedicated to the countless people terrorized by racial violence in this country.

“I have spent my entire professional and intellectual life studying that journey,” Jami shares. “And as a Black person, I was raised thinking and talking about and understanding those issues. And yet I still learned so much in Montgomery.”

At the end of the trip, a facilitator encouraged Jami and her colleagues to consider what they would do with the experience one they returned to WNYC.

“I sat on the plane on the way back to New York City and I wrote out a one-page pitch proposal for the Race and Justice Unit. It was so powerfully clear to see, after what we just experienced, and it could be articulated in one page, that we needed a content unit centered in the newsroom to drive our coverage through a lens of racial injustice that has been present in this country since before the founding” Jami says.

Find your Personal North Star

Jami is a native New Yorker who actually grew up listening to WNYC.

“As much as I love New York, we have a lot of history here that we have not dealt with,” Jami adds. “It is not, and has not ever been an easy place to be a Black person.”

She shared that she was bullied throughout her childhood and was most often the only Black student in her classrooms from second grade through high school. 

“We all have hurdles,” Jami notes, “but we see examples of people who overcome and overcome with brilliance.”

To overcome her hurdles with brilliance, Jami focuses on her own “personal North Star.”

“Where are you trying to get to and for what purpose? If you believe in that and yourself, you’ll get there. And just don’t let your detractors get you down. Because the best revenge is success,” Jami adds.

Make Decisions with Intention

“You don’t want life to happen to you,” Jami imparts. “You want to make things happen.”

She says she finds fulfillment in her work and personal life because she moves through each decision with intention. Jami explains that she often doesn’t give advice because she believes that individuals know themselves and their journey better than anyone else can.

So, instead of focusing on what other people want you to do, she says to dig deep and determine what you want to do and how you can be the best version of yourself.

Living with intention takes work. You have to “take stock of what you’re doing almost every day,” Jami adds. But this process will help you live your best life.

“Assess what your talents are, what your gifts are and why you were put on this earth. Rise to your best strengths and your best talents and apply them to leave the world a better place than it was when you got here. And if you do that, then you will feel fulfilled. And you’ll never look back.”

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