Caribbean American Woman Trailblazer: Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald’s Caribbean Correspondent

By: Ashley Andrews

Jacqueline Charles

Jacqueline Charles

South Florida– Award-winning Caribbean correspondent, Jacqueline Charles provides insightful coverage of the Caribbean in her reporting. The National Association of Black Journalists’ 2011 Journalist of the Year, Charles has used her craft to educate Miami and the world about Caribbean culture and commonalities.

For those that don’t know, what do you do and how did you get started?

I am the Caribbean Correspondent for the Miami Herald, where I began working as a 14-year-old high school intern.

As a Caribbean female journalist, what different perspectives do you offer in your  reporting that your male counterparts don’t?

I don’t believe that as a Caribbean female journalist I am any different from my male counterparts. I prefer to see my job through the lens of someone who is from the region and reporting about it. I was born in Turks and Caicos and raised by a Haitian mother and Cuban-American stepfather. As a Haitian-Turks Islander, I have the unique experience of seeing the region through my various experiences. The fact is, while we are a grouping of separate islands, with our own accents and language, we are more alike than we are different. As a journalist, I strive to show the commonalities that exist.

What obstacles have you had to overcome being a female journalist?

Maybe I have been blessed in that I really haven’t experienced sexism in this business. But one concern you can’t ignore as a female journalist is sometimes you meet someone who tries to play on the fact that you are a female for their own personal advantage. However, I like to think that when I walk into a room, my work and reputation speak for itself — and says, “it means business.”

Which aspect of Haitian culture do you love the most, and how do you incorporate it in your work?

I love all things about my Caribbean culture, both the Haitian and non-Haitian side. But my culture doesn’t dictate my work. It shouldn’t. The search for truth and objectivity should always be your goals are a journalist. Something that you will never see in my coverage, is me serving as an apologist. I will try to bring some understanding to the issues, but where criticism is warranted, I have no qualms about serving it up.

What advice would you give aspiring female entrepreneurs looking to break the glass ceiling?

Stay true to yourself and know your craft. Someone along the way will always try to make you question yourself, your skills and if you should be where you are. If you carry your head high with confidence and not arrogance, are always well-prepared, then you will make it harder for them to try and stop your journey to success. Lastly, seek out mentors. No matter how smart you think you are, you should have people in your life who you can seek guidance from and who will always tell you the truth.

Follow Jacqueline on twitter: @Jacquiecharles

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