The College of Media, Communication and Information sat down with graduate Joy Barber from Centennial, Colorado, for her reflections on her college experience. Barber is graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English.
What drew you to study journalism at the College of Media, Communication and Information?
I was interested in storytelling, and CMCI offered me the opportunity to learn from amazing professors about becoming a well-rounded journalist in a technology-focused era.
I know you explored racial stereotypes in the news media for your thesis. Can you briefly describe the general idea behind the project and why you decided to take on this topic?
When I started the process of completing an honors thesis last semester, I did not find it difficult to choose a research topic around which to design an honors project. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always been curious as to the negative perception of my culture and identity as an African American. Every single time I would turn on the television, I was flooded with images of African Americans who were portrayed in mug shots or in handcuffs.
The message that I constantly received was that African Americans were unintelligent individuals who committed the majority of crimes. The idea behind this project was to investigate the grassroots of the racialized stereotype of a criminal as presented within television news media.
What was your thesis process like?
There was a lot of time and dedication that went into completing this honors thesis. After conducting research, I decided to create a 20-minute podcast titled I Am Not What You Think. This podcast features an interview with an African American student at CU Boulder, who has battled the stereotype of a criminal all his life. The purpose behind the podcast title was to highlight the notion that many ethnic individuals do not identify with the stereotypes they are associated with.
Any takeaways you have after the project? Do you think this will impact your own work as a journalist or the way you view the news?
This project has changed my life. As I enter the work field as a journalist, I plan to utilize the information I have discovered within my honors thesis to report on news stories that represent minorities in positive roles within their communities and help negate the racialized stereotype of a criminal. I hope through my journalistic efforts to report on stories that represent minorities who positively contribute to their community in various professional sectors, I will be able to help change the negative perception of African Americans.
I truly believe representation matters, and I would like to be a positive example for audiences to look up to and know, during this political time in America, I am a journalist who is fighting to represent minorities in the positive light they deserve.
Was there a project, internship, class or other experience you found especially impactful during your time at CMCI?
I really enjoyed taking the class Fundamentals of Reporting. This class challenged me in the best ways, and I was able to improve my interviewing skills.
Is there a certain person—faculty member, coach, advisor, staff member, fellow student—who made a positive difference for you as a student?
There are a lot of people that have made a positive difference in my life as a student. I definitely can’t pick one. Some include David Martinez, inclusion and scholarships coordinator; Paul Daugherty, instructor; and Patrick Clark, instructor of media.
What is your favorite memory as a CMCI student?
My favorite memory as a CMCI student is having had the opportunity to meet and to ask Anderson Cooper a question at his CU Boulder event in March. This was the highlight of my senior year and I will never forget it.
What are your plans after graduation? What do you hope to achieve in the future?
After graduation, I plan to continue my passion for storytelling as a journalist and a writer. I have applied to a couple of television internships at ABC studios and I am waiting to hear back.