Instagram has become a hub for discovering inspirational individuals who not only motivates you to return to their page for updates, but return to their pages for motivation in life. One of those individuals was Tara Drinks, the founder and lead writer for “The New Journalist,” an online space for relevant & cutting edge news topics.
After sharing our mutual respect for each other, I had the opportunity to chat with Tara about her life, her journey with The New Journalist, her graytness, her efforts, and her motivations. Tara’s innate humor birthed memorable quotes and impacting nuggets for recognizing your worth and walking in your worth!
Likening her fascination with journalism to that of a young boy or young girl having a favorite entertainer, Tara set her sights on being a reporter from an early age. From watching Mike Woods & Good Day New York, Good Morning America, and Eye Witness News, Tara always watched news— falling in love with the process of delivering all facts and proceeding to tell you your story.
Noting her evolving love for writing as an integral facet of her journalistic pursuits—from creative pieces and essays throughout high school—Tara went on to study communication concentrating on journalism in college.
What compelled you to operate in journalism?
In regards to broadcast journalism and news, “Growing up watching it and then definitely taking a liking to it and wanting to be just like it” prompted Tara to aspire to be a reporter and anchor. Nevertheless, after speaking with a producer at a news studio once, Tara noted that the producer told her she should aspire to be “a seasoned reporter…THEN you can be an anchor”. Noting the importance of taking steps to reaching your dreams, Tara found herself at the birth of “The New Journalist”.
Toying with “selective” shyness during her freshmen and sophomore years in college, Tara finally branched out during her junior and senior years by taking on various leadership roles. Nevertheless, when graduation came, she found herself in a predicament: a communications degree and no job.
In this moment of hopelessness, Tara realized that “I needed to be setting [myself] up for how I’m going to deliver to the world that ‘Here I am, I want to be a reporter’”
What did you start doing to prepare for The New Journalist?
In her post-undergraduate moments of self-reflection, Tara realized “I had nothing to back up what it is I wanted to do. It’s like going to a producer and saying ‘I want to be a singer’, but no demo. How does that work?” Taking her own advice, Tara proceeded to create “The New Journalist” as a portfolio to demonstrate, “Hey Guys, Look I can do it!” Tara humbly acknowledged that, “No one wanted to hire me, so I had to hire myself! I put me on my own payroll!”
“Doing it” has become an understatement as she attributes “Good Lord Jesus Christ” as the power behind the brand that has become of The New Journalist. But what keeps her “doing it?”
What values have you brought with you from your past to empower and sustain your [graytness]?
Tara attributes consistency & confidence as the values that empowers the graytness within “The New Journalist”. Firstly, Tara believes “What separates anybody from the [grayts] is just the fact that they kept going.”
In spite of her shyness that tried to prevent her from branching out and trying anything on her own, confidence has become a significant value that helps Tara tackle and find comfort in handling “The New Journalist.” As she gets in formation with her purpose and the factors that make her differentiates her talents, Tara pushes her content with a mindset of, “Listen, here it is. Either you’re going to like it, love it, or hate it.”
Social media has impressed a quick news cycle into journalism focused on a rapid viewer captivation; nevertheless, Tara’s aim is somewhat different. In our conversation, she highlighted, “I want to bring back that true art of journalism. Today, it’s become whatever story is going to get us the most hits.”
What do you identify as your differentiating factor among other journalists?
Committed to staying relevant, yet going out and finding the stories that you aren’t hearing about, Tara is committed to “returning to back to the basics [of journalism], [acknowledging] there’s an art behind it.”
What advice can you give to a young journalist or entrepreneur about the art of branding yourself?
“Starts with being true to yourself: Understand that you cannot be someone else. You really have to be who you are. Sometimes when you have your vision, you have your dream, you’re constantly comparing yourself to the person who you want to be like… I am who I am for a reason. So I need to own that. Once you’re true to yourself, then you can be true to your brand”.
Acknowledging her good friend Bria Brown, Tara proceeded to note the importance of “Find[ing] someone in the industry that can encourage you and push you to keep going. Not jealous of each other.”
As an integral aspect to her life, Tara went on to highlight the importance of consistency. “Make sure you’re consistent: Once you get in the habit of pushing yourself and keep going, you’ll really see the fruits of your labor”
What are three (3) routine rituals you implement to maintain your discipline?
Although Tara believes that “when you’re passionate about something, you’ll put all of your efforts into it”, she shared a three key things she does to nurture her differentiating factor:
- “Studying other writers [and] other reporters,” and
- “Constantly making sure that I’m watching what’s going on”.
EFFORTS & ETHICS
What and/or who do you attribute your [graytness] to?
Without hesitation, Tara sent all credit for her “graytness” to God, sharing “I am who I am because of him, let’s be clear.” More specifically, Tara recalls a sermon titled, “ You Were Born for a Time Like This” as a key influence on her belief that “Whether it is a reporter, I know I’m made for a reason.”
What makes you challenge the status quo?
Acknowledging that there is a specific reason on why she is made, Tara expresses that she challenges the status quo because she is, “Determined to now create my own lane; because I’m dedicated to that I can’t allow myself to fall into what everyone else is doing.”
What do you love so much about journalism and breaking news?
There seems to always be something that keeps us going, that sustains our passion for something. For Tara, excitement sustains her passion for news and journalism—expressing, “It’s so exciting to me. I’m a kid in a candy store when I’m in the city if I’m walking past a broadcast going on. Long story short, I literally light up.”
Throughout Tara’s journey, BELIEF has been a significant facet to the development and success of The New Journalist. Her story underscores the power in believing in the possibility of our dreams, believing in the process towards fulfilling our dreams, and believing in the reality of our dreams when they manifest—evident in her philosophies in life and moments of failure and success:
What are three defining philosophies that you try to live by?
- Keep God First: “I think that’s a constant lesson. I don’t think we ever get to a point where we fully perfect it.”
- Self-Love: “Especially with what’s going on in the world, its something that you really have to, if you haven’t perfected, get somewhat close to!”
- Appreciate the value of family & the value of your career: We can “get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life that we forget how short life really is.”
What was one moment of failure or success that would motivate someone else?
“Starting The New Journalist […] came from not having a job, which was a failure. The constant ‘No. No. No’ that really motivated me to start it.”
Another moment that set the tone for Tara’s commitment to “The New Journalist” occurred two to three months into the site’s existence. Tara had the opportunity to report and interview a fellow celebrity on the behalf of “The New Journalist”; a moment where she realized that sometimes you have to “fake it until you make it”, even if you “have no idea of who you are or what you do”, you have to make it believable!
Connect with Tara!
[GRAYT PEOPLE] Profile Series curates an informational collective of inspirational individuals who have shown what it means to mobilize confidence to challenge [GOOD] and mobilize courage to champion [GRAYT]—highlighting their past, their journey to their [graytness], their efforts and ethics, their motivation, and their aspirations.