Paris Alston is the co-host of Morning Edition and “The Wake Up” podcast at GBH News. She reflects more on her ancestry nowadays, looking up to her grandmothers for guidance and inspiration as she seeks for opportunities that were unavailable to them. Now, she is pursuing a social impact MBA at Boston University and is an active member of The National Association of Black Journalists. She has also worked at WBUR, UNC-TV in North Carolina, NBC10-Philadelphia and has reported stories from five continents. Paris grew up in North Carolina and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
What are you reading or listening to now?
I am reading Another Brooklyn, a novel by Jacqueline Woodson. I’m really appreciating the book because the succinct prose makes it easy to sneak a few pages in throughout a busy day.
I’m currently listening to a lot of classic reggae to help me study as the end of my summer MBA semester quickly approaches. My favorite is “Better Must Come” by Delroy Wilson. Some other artists I’m listening to are R.L. Burnside, Hermanos Gutiérrez, Tupac, Big Pun and Janelle Monae.
Who is your role model or inspiration?
There are so many to name! Lately, I have been feeling a lot of spiritual guidance from my late grandmothers, one of whom transitioned late last year. They were matriarchs, through and through, from the food they cooked to the lessons they taught and the love they gave. There was a lot they weren’t able to do or see in their lifetime, so in many ways I’m living those things out for them. Their presence in my heart and mind is a constant reminder of why I’m doing what I do and who I’m doing it for.
Why did you become a public media journalist?
My career in media and journalism began in middle school, when I was tapped to deliver the morning announcements to my classmates. That carried through high school and into college, where I studied multimedia journalism and global studies at UNC Chapel Hill. Upon my graduation in 2016, I had no idea where I’d land.
Later that summer, I attended the conference for the National Association of Black Journalists, as I’ve done almost every year since I was a college sophomore. There was a setup at the career fair called “The Public Media Village,” and while there I met a number of leaders in the industry, including the former general manager of GBH News. The next thing I know, I was headed to Boston for an interview, then moving here a month or so later to begin my public media career at GBH.
What is one word to describe your job?
Describe an impact that a story that you produced made.
Reporting on the unveiling of The Embrace monument to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Coretta Scott King was an unforgettable moment in my journalism career, and for Boston. The coverage was all about contextualizing what that moment meant to Boston given how the city is shifting from its historically racist reputation. Speaking with people on the Common that day and covering the commentary (good, bad and ugly) in the days that followed meant so much to me.
See more of Paris Alston’s work here.