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Friday
Apr222016

Gabrielle Bryant: A Journalist With a Plan

Gabrielle Bryant is president of the Colorado Association of Black Journalists.On April 30, up-and-coming journalist Gabrielle Bryant will participate in an event honoring Colorado’s pioneering women in journalism.

More specifically, she will sit on a panel with veteran KCNC and CNN anchor-reporter Reynelda Muse and Rocky Mountain PBS executive producer Cynthia Hessin. 
“It is a huge deal to sit on a panel with people of that magnitude,” says Bryant, a staff producer at PBS affiliate, Colorado Public Television (CPT12), where she is responsible for producing the station’s flagship public affairs program, “Colorado Inside Out.” 

The long-standing program provides thought-provoking and in-depth weekly analysis of Colorado current affairs by a panel of highly-informed journalists, activists and professional pundits. Bryant, who sometimes serves as on-air talent, is also co-executive producer of “Street Level,” a fairly new series for the station that showcases individual streets throughout Colorado with a narrative that celebrates the communities we all live in at the street level. 

Bryant is very much looking forward to the April 30 event. In a way, it is an event that has been in the cards since she was in the 5th grade.

As a member of the color guard at McGlone Elementary, she was assigned to escort Dan Rather around the school. She doesn’t recall the reason the veteran news anchor from CBS Evening News, who also served as a contributor for CBS's 60 Minutes, was at her school. But she took her assignment seriously and as a result was introduced to the field of journalism. 
“I saw that it (a career in journalism) was tangible,” says the Denver native, who is about six years into her career in journalism and steadily advancing in the industry. 

From earning a degree in speech communications with an emphasis in journalism and sociology in 2010 to networking with the right people, her road has been intentional. Her goal is to host and produce her own national talk show like her hero Oprah. At the end of the day she wants to serve the needs of the community at-large by providing engaging, accurate and timely information. 

So when she connected with Denver-based, Emmy-award winning freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker Tamara Banks through a referral in 2010, she was well on her way. Banks is nationally and internationally known for her expertise in social justice and political issues, South Sudan and Darfur, and other parts of the globe where there is little or no news coverage. 

She had breakfast with Banks, who at the time, was also a co-host of the station’s Studio 12 program. She was invited to the station, whose mission is to cultivate an informed, energized community in Colorado by connecting diverse people through education, shared experiences, and reflective civic discourse. 

The Right Fit
“I literally never left,” says Bryant, the mother of two daughters. Having a front-row seat to Bank’s interviews “was validation that it could be done. She was doing exactly what I wanted to do.” 

Almost immediately, Bryant started as an intern, learning everything from creating chyron graphics for the screen to running the camera to researching possible guests and topics. Whenever the staff at the station asked her to do anything, “As long as I could find a babysitter, I said, ‘yes.’ ”

Earlier this year, she also said ‘yes’ to the station directors when they asked her if she had any ideas for Black History Month programming. She developed “The New Black Experience,” an interview project highlighting go-getters in the music scene, dance, community service and tech to discuss their unique experience as black people in today’s society. The interviews aired in February, and are still in the programming rotation. She is working on new interviews to air this summer. Jamari Hysaw, a marketing executive, was interviewed by Gabrielle Bryant for The New Black Experience earlier this year.

While she is happy with her career growth, she concedes that, as with any industry, she has to earn respect every step of the way. “When you are young, and you are working with people who’ve been in the industry for decades, you have to prove yourself time and time again,” she says. “As a broadcast producer, that means monitoring the environment, being on-point and doing a lot in a short amount of time.”
The former Montbello high school head cheerleader, who used to load up her teammates in an Astrovan, stays poised for the challenge for herself and also for those who look to her for guidance. As the current president of the Colorado Association of Black Journalists and former president of the Black Student Alliance at her alma mater, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Bryant understands the infinite value of her own legacy as she prepares to participate on this panel – part of the 75th anniversary of Colorado Press Women

“A lot of people want to be on camera only. I also want to produce, write and edit content,” says Bryant. “I know a few women in the business who can do all of it. That’s the way the industry is headed, and I know in order to be successful, I need to master as many of these skills as I can.” 

The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame event “Celebrating Colorado Women in Journalism” will be held at the Central branch of the Denver Public Library on April 30 in the 7th floor classroom from 2-4 p.m. The name of the panel is “Breaking Through Barriers in Broadcast Journalism.” 

“Black Women: Celebrating the Road Less Traveled” is a weekly online series published by Canady’s Corner to honor Black women who are making a mark in the world in their very own way.