News anchor Joy Reid on the career fork in the road that led her to MSNBC

The political analyst fills out Fast Company’s My Operating System questionnaire.

News anchor Joy Reid on the career fork in the road that led her to MSNBC
[Illustration: Louise Pomeroy]

Fast Company: What’s your best habit, and what’s your worst?


Joy Reid: I never quit, and I never quit (so I don’t get enough sleep).

FC: Is there a famous person you admire?

JR: Ava DuVernay.


FC: What is the buzzword you never want to hear again?

JR: Six Sigma.

FC: What’s the best mistake you ever made?


JR: Writing an op-ed against the Iraq War as a news employee at an NBC affiliate in 2004 that accidentally had my work email on it.

FC: Did you have a career fork in the road?

JR: Quitting my job in local news over my objection to the Iraq War (after that op-ed) to work on an election against George W. Bush that failed in 2004. That move launched me into campaign politics, steered me into talk radio and set up my job on the Obama campaign, which launched me into punditry and cable TV news.


FC: How do you unplug?

JR: I watch TV. [I like watching] something spooky, action-adventure, or sci-fi.

FC: Is there a book you recommend to everyone?


JR: James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son, because people need to pay closer attention to the history of race in America.

FC: What’s the advice you’re glad you ignored?

JR: Don’t quit your job until you have [another] job.


FC: What advice would you give your younger self?

JR: Skip the whole premed thing and major in history.

FC: Do you have a work uniform or wardrobe staple?


JR: Sweats and an interesting T-shirt.

FC: What’s always in your bag?

JR: Hand sanitizer and lip balm.


FC: What TV show are you mid-binge on?

JR: I May Destroy You, on HBO. It’s full of brilliant writing and acting, and it takes place in my husband’s hometown area (Hackney, London).

FC: What is your go-to food for fast fuel?


JR: Fries.

FC: Is there a meal you fantasize about?

JR: Smothered chicken, greens, and sweet potatoes, with a glass of sparkling wine.


FC: What’s your “get pumped” song?

JR: Nicki Minaj’s “Chun-Li.”

FC: Do you have a favorite object in your office?


JR: A sculpture that looks like a lump . . . of something. When I’m on hiatus I take classes, like sculpting, where I am the least talented schmuck in the room. I like being a beginner and making art for the pure joy of what clay feels like between my fingers.

FC: Do you have a mantra?

JR: “The little things are the big things.”


FC: How do you congratulate someone?

JR: [I send them] Red Bay coffee, from Oakland, California. Everyone I know loves coffee, and I want to support this Black-owned business.

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect that Joy Reid worked against George Bush’s 2004 Presidential campaign.