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4 things we learned from Jenese Harris’ AMA

Jenese held on AMA on Tuesday, Oct. 13.
Jenese held on AMA on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Note: This recap of Jenese’s Ask Me Anything first appeared in News4JAX Insider, our email newsletter dedicated to our loyal audience. Sign up to receive this newsletter (and any others) on our website.


If you’ve never had a chance to get to know Jenese Harris, you’re missing out. But even for those of us who have been fortunate enough to work alongside Jenese in Channel 4′s newsroom, there were some surprises revealed in her Ask Me Anything for Insiders.

For instance, we learned that Jenese might be an architect if she had not become a journalist. And that she’s a distance runner who completed the Chicago Marathon in 2015. And that if she could have any super power, she would choose time travel — and for a very heartfelt reason.

(P.S. Stay tuned for Lauren Verno’s Ask Me Anything next Tuesday. And in case you missed them, you can catch up on Vic’s, Rebecca’s, Lena’s, Justin’s and Tarik’s AMAs on our website.)

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Without further ado, here are our four biggest takeaways from Jenese’s AMA:

Do the news topics you cover ever bother you? How do you keep your emotions from showing on TV?

At times, the sad stories are heartbreaking and I have always been told by mentors to not show emotion. Tell the story and let the story speak for itself. Let the interviewees share their emotions. However, you might have seen me tear up a couple of weeks ago when I wrote the story about the young boy who did a run for the late Lt. Cunningham. My brother is a police officer in Chicago and my father was a military policeman in the Army, and I thought about my cousin who is 39 years old, served as a State Trooper in New Jersey and died of COVID-19 during the Easter holiday. So, though I normally do not get emotional, I could not help but think of the wonderful people in my life that have served.

If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?

I would have the ability to go back in time, so I could talk to my grandfather who died when I was little. He made such an impact on all of our lives and I just want to talk to him.

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What keeps you centered, especially during these perilous times?

My parents always told me to find a place of peace. So I treat home as a place of peace where I rarely watch the news, unless I am preparing for work. Also, knowing that everyday brings a new challenge, when I leave work I have promised myself since I began working in television (2005) that I don’t think about the news stories once I walk in my house. I use the drive home to meditate and let any stress go. Also, I have seen so many good people make a difference in this world, (so) I am confident that humanity will be okay.

How did you become a news reporter? What stories most inspired you? And what advice do you have for future news reporters?

  • I knew that I would become one when I was nine years old and watching Carmen Harlan at (Detroit’s WDIV-TV). I looked at the TV and told my mom, “That is what I am going to be when I grow up.”
  • Stories that inspire me: Any story that will advocate, educate or inspire a community to improve.
  • Advice for future reporters: Always be as kind and as patient as possible when covering a story because you are meeting people on probably the best or worst day of their lives, and they will need your compassion and empathy.

Here are the rest of the questions that came up during Jenese’s AMA:

When can we expect to see you on the meteorology desk?

I am almost done with my Geoscience Broadcast Meteorology Degree. According to my advisor, I have a couple more credit hours. I will be done by the spring! :)

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What are the top five things you can’t live without?

  1. Crème brûlée
  2. Talking to my family
  3. Running
  4. Talking to my best friend
  5. Traveling

If you weren’t a news broadcaster, what would you pursue as a career?

I knew that I wanted to be a journalist when I was nine years old. However, I have always had a love for construction and architecture. So I attended a school in Detroit where I studied architecture. I interned for firms and TV stations throughout high school and determined I wanted to be a journalist more.

Do you prefer running sprints, or jogging?

I like running long distances. I completed the Chicago Marathon in 2015.

How long have you been at News4JAX?

Since June 6, 2016 :)

What’s your favorite food?

Ohhhhhh that’s a difficult question... My favorite food is lobster bisque!

What do you like to do when you are not at work?

I like to study, jog, watch documentaries, and talk to my best friend for hoursssssssss. LOL.

What’s the best thing about being a reporter?

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I get to tell the stories of so many different and unique. It’s a tremendous responsibility, however I enjoy it. It really is cool being a journalist. It is important to get it right because you are documenting history. Also, I love anchoring — that is how my journey began.

Over the past four years, the nation has become succumbed to political polarization and an increase in outright racial intolerance and bias. How has this affected you and has the journalism industry been subjected to both disparities?

I think as human beings we will always have challenges and it’s a part of history as much as it is in present times. However, I am interested as a journalist in documenting how the world handles this. In my personal life, I simply require empathy, respect and honesty.