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Dec. 1, 2022

Podcast: Jemele Hill on her new book, 'Uphill: A Memoir'

Episode details

MSU alumna and renowned journalist Jemele Hill returns to MSU Today to discuss her new book, “Uphill: A Memoir.”

Show notes

Hill talks about what motivated her to write the book and why now was the time to do it. She describes how therapy helped her attain a “better and deeper understanding” of who she is.

“I wasn’t unhappy when I began my therapy journey because I don’t think you need to be unhappy to go to therapy. Sometimes it’s just a good maintenance check. It’s for greater understanding of you. I hope when people read the book, they’ll see that there’s a commonality to all the issues I discuss in my book that should help people as they try to figure out how they want to deal with things.”

Hill says she chose to attend MSU “because of its stellar journalism program. I wanted to work at the State News, too. Going to Michigan State really changed my life. I was born and raised in Detroit, but I grew up at Michigan State.”

Hill shares her views on a “very challenging” state of journalism.

“The whole point of journalism is truth. What I see a lot these days is not just the inaccuracies and bad framing, but also an inability to tell the truth by hiding behind objectivity. I know it sounds like objectivity should be a great thing in journalism. Our goal should actually be to be fair, which is different. Sometimes we have to be able to call people out and hold them accountable. That’s the whole point of the phrase about journalists being the watchdog of society. The essential core of democracy can only work if there’s a free and fair press. The fact that there are outlets that traffic in passing off conspiracy theories as news is very disappointing and all it does is encourage people to not necessarily seek the truth but to seek the truth they want to believe as opposed to what’s actually true.”

Hill shares her advice for today’s journalism students to “focus on the craft. The mechanisms of how we do our jobs will always change. It’s stone tablets one day and podcasts the next. But what doesn’t change is the core tenets of the job.”

Hill talks about writing on the intersection of sports, race, gender, politics, and culture for The Atlantic. And she shares her views on name, image, and likeness and the transfer portal in the evolving world of college athletics. She previews project she’s working on , including a collaboration with Spike Lee.

“I hope people who read Uphill understand that this is a story of resiliency and perseverance. And it’s a testament to something I believe in: Your circumstances, no matter how bad, do not have to dictate the life you envision for yourself.”

MSU Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sundays at 8 p.m. on 760 WJR. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on SpotifyApple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.

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