Shamonee Baker has been a storyteller since her days at Kenwood Elementary School in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., covering school-based news. Baker recalled the “aha” moment when her fourth-grade teacher invited her to speak at a local TV station about the school’s new aviation program.
“I really felt like that was my ‘big break’,” she laughed.
“Black storytelling is important because it provides representation for people in the community that look like myself and feel as if their voice isn’t heard or is invalid,” she said. “It’s like that saying ‘giving a voice to the voiceless.’”
As a first-generation college student, Baker did not have anyone with first-hand experience on choosing colleges. She ultimately chose Florida A&M University’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication.
“When I chose FAMU I said, ‘Whatever I do, I want to do it well.’”
“It’s nice to know I have professors looking after me,” Baker said of Professor Jones who submitted her work for consideration. “Everything I’ve achieved is because I had someone like Professor Jones standing behind me 110 percent. Having someone who sees the potential in you is great.”
Baker interned with the Tallahassee Democrat during her final semester, contributing local stories including one about Supreme Court Justice Kentaji Brown Jackson’s family ties to the capital city.
“There’s always power in connecting the rest of the world to the community right here in Tallahassee and I think that article really showcased how many wonderful people and connections that can be made in our neighborhood.”
Basker plans to begin working full-time at a news station as a multimedia journalist this summer.