Born and raised in Mississippi, Bracey S. Harris gravitated toward journalism at an early age in the heart of the South.
“As a Southerner, I grew up in a culture of storytelling,” Ms. Harris said. “The groundwork for my passion for news traces back as early as elementary school.”
Ms. Harris, 22, graduated this year from the University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism.
She was a staff reporter and the multimedia editor of the school’s newspaper, The Daily Mississippian, and co-anchored “NewsWatch,” a student-run newscast. She also freelanced for The Clarion-Ledger, the state’s largest newspaper, writing mostly about campus-related issues.
Ms. Harris recalled one of her favorite stories at The Clarion-Ledger, which focused on a homeless man who managed to get on his feet and work toward a college degree.
“The day the story published, I received calls from community members asking how they could donate,” Ms. Harris said. “The story showed the power of the individual to overcome challenges and the power of the community to help its fellow man.”
Through a magazine-reporting class at the University of Mississippi, Ms. Harris spent two weeks in South Africa. She met a young woman who had been struggling to apply to nursing school for three years — getting access to a computer was a major obstacle. But the woman said she was determined to become a nurse, even if it took 10 years. That story remained with Ms. Harris.
“Her determination was really inspiring and also gave me a new way of looking at things as a reporter,” she said. “It made me want to look at the deeper picture when telling a story.”