When she was 6 years old, the only thing that kept Shanaé Harte calm in the mornings while getting ready for school was NBC’s “Today” show. The skill with which the anchors approached different types of journalism — hard news, lighter news, and entertainment — enthralled her. That’s when Harte first knew she wanted to be a journalist.
She is pursuing her passion at York College (CUNY), majoring in journalism with a concentration in Broadcast. Harte is also completing a minor in Psychology. She will graduate in spring 2022, and she plans to do graduate work in Broadcast Journalism and Marriage and Family Therapy. Eventually she would like to have a doctorate degree in both of these fields.
Harte’s post-graduation aspirations are high. “I want to be known for being a fearless journalist who will go to all lengths to expose hidden facts and truth,” she said. “I want to be the journalist who thinks about the public before thinking about anything else.”
She is taking all opportunities at York College to prepare for her future career. Harte is the News Director of YCRadio, which provides experience in organizing news segments, editing and approving scripts, and building on-air skills. She also writes for Pandora’s Box, York’s student newspaper, and serves as the managing editor.
Harte dearly wanted to take part in the 2020 protests in support of Black lives but refrained because her father is at higher risk for both contracting COVID-19 and experiencing complications from the virus. Instead, she participated by sharing events and discussing the issues on her social media. She has always wanted to be doing more to combat racism, and she believes that being part of Writing Wrongs and writing about the issue will kick-start a stronger involvement.
“For countless years in this country, minority communities — especially the black community — have been suffering due to discrimination and different types of hate crimes. While many of these stories are being covered, there are still a lot of stories that have not been told and many underlying issues that still need to be brought to the public’s attention. As an individual of African descent, it hurts to see members of my community suffer, many of them in silence; some of them are too tired to complain or have simply become disillusioned by the system.”
As a high school student in Guyana, Harte had a friend who would make racist jokes while claiming that it was simply “dark humor.” She never confronted him, and after she moved to the United States, he posted a disturbing video online. He placed money on the ground and stood aside, stating that he was waiting to see which one of the Black students would be the first to pick up the money and keep it. Harte realized that his intentions were never just “jokes,” but that this was how he truly felt about Black people. She was appalled and spoke with other classmates about the video.
“It was quite sad that I was having this conversation about a classmate that I always extended kindness towards knowing that he was probably always thinking ill of me because of the color of my skin,” Harte said.
If she were given one wish to be granted, Harte would ask for her father to have a successful kidney transplant. Her wish for the world would be for racism to end.
The number one item on Harte’s bucket list is to write a best-selling book for teenagers.