Island Voice News

INTRODUCING ISLAND VOICE WRITER: MELISSA NOEL

Melissa Noel's HeadshotMy family is from Guyana, and our international origin has played a major role in my awareness and interest in covering news locally and abroad.

Growing up I vividly remember my weekly trips to the local Caribbean market in my New Jersey neighborhood to get the Guyana newspapers for my grandmother.

I would read the paper with her and saw just how happy it made her to know what was going on back home. Beyond that she taught the importance of not only being aware of the news happening around the world, but understanding it. I knew then when I was just eight years old that I wanted to be a reporter.

I wanted to be the person to provide information that keeps people informed. I wanted to be the person to interact with people from all walks of life and tell the stories of their communities.

There is no greater passion for me.

I attended Howard University for my undergraduate studies in Journalism. During my time at Howard, I took advantage of every opportunity available to practice my craft and tell the stories that are often under-reported. From my freshman year I co-hosted the Island Hoppin radio show on WHBC 830 AM and was a reporter for the student run Spotlight TV Network as well as the Hilltop Newspaper. Throughout my college tenure I also had great opportunities to work for some of the biggest news networks, including ABC News and MSNBC at NBC Universal. It was during that time I decided that I wanted to work as television reporter.

My commitment to bringing attention to under-reported and international stories earned me recognition as a 2009 White House Correspondents’ journalism award recipient. I also received an American News Women’s Club Excellence in Journalism Award that same year.

After completing my degree in Broadcast Journalism, I started work as a Desk Assistant at ABC News in New York City. While at the network, my duties included organizing breaking news coverage, shooting video for news packages, producing live-shots and producing segments.

I learned a lot at ABC, but getting comfortable was not an option.

I left ABC news after two years to pursue my Masters degree in Journalism at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism. I refined my reporting, writing and production skills during the course of my master’s program, where I specialized in Urban Reporting and Broadcast News. My training included studio and field production as well as backpack enterprise one-man-band reporting. I also learned multi-media reporting skills to tell stories across all platforms. The multimedia skills I learned during the course of  my graduate program have afforded many opportunities as a reporter both in front of and behind the camera.

Presently I am producing video content as well as written pieces as a freelance reporter/producer “Talking Health” on CUNY TV and for MSNBC’s theGrio.com. I also cover the NYC Caribbean and African communities as a beat reporter for Voices of NY and am the Media Producer at my alma mater, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

I know that I play an important role in how news is conveyed and how such a role can affect the way news is disseminated to the public.

My work has also been featured on ABC News’ “Good Morning America” and “World News,” MSNBC, The Investigative Reporting Workshop of Washington D.C. and the New York City News Service. I have covered arts and culture, health disparities, city government and issues of social justice across New York and New Jersey. Nationally, I have reported on the Occupy Wall

Street protests, the death of Osama Bin Laden, the 2012 presidential race and Superstorm Sandy.

Reporting on the stories Caribbean and African communities is something that has always been dear to me. I am excited to have the opportunity to share my love of telling these stories as a writer for Island Voice.

 

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