When creating content for MOK today, where do you draw inspiration from?
Everything on MOK is simply what or who inspires me. It has always been that way and I want to continue to keep it that way. That’s what makes it so unique. It’s my point of view, you know? So if someone or something speaks to me in a way that impacts me, I’ll create content centered around that particular person or idea, in my voice. How did your overall college experience and education help shape who you are as a journalist?
College really taught me the importance of proper research. As a journalist or any type of professional, research is one of the most significant parts or whatever project you’re working on. If you research correctly and thoroughly, not only do you learn, but you’re more equipped to handle what comes your way because you have the knowledge to do so. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t take the time to research. Google is a goldmine and so is the library. It’s free education outside of school. You just have to spend the time.
Last year you were featured in NYLON Magazine’s Black Girl Power…The Future Is Bright” series where readers learned about your first interview with Jessica Brown. What sparked your interest in journalism? When did you realize you wanted to pursue an actual career in journalism?
I’m one of those people who thinks everything in life is connected, you just have to pay attention. Nothing sparked my interest in particular, it was a very natural transition. When I was younger, my family called me a news reporter because I knew everything going on, even things I really wasn’t supposed to! Ha. But in school, I’d always win poetry contests and awards for my writing. I had journals galore as well. I initially wanted to be a lawyer first, I even got accepted into a law high school in Brooklyn. But it was too far, and the only school with room was a preparatory academy for writers, go figure right? It was at that school I realized that I wanted to be a journalist all along. So from there I started honing my now obvious God given talent. I started a blogspot blog and then a Tumblr in 11th grade. None of my friends knew what I was doing or were interested in it. I was into content creation before I knew it was a “thing.” Now that I think about it, Tumblr taught me about quality images and how important they are in storytelling.
Thankfully, I’ve never experienced fear. Nerves and a rush, just because these are women who I admire greatly but fear, no. I’m so deeply connected and in tune with what I do, it has become second-nature to me. It’s a part of my purpose. When it comes to reaching out, the worst thing that can be said is no, or they don’t answer. For example, I’ve tried to interview Vashtie twice, years before, and I got no reply, but I never gave up. When something is on, or in my heart-as all of my interviews are-I don’t push it to the side in the case that it doesn’t work once or twice. It’s on my heart for a reason. I get better at what I do, wait and keep trying. Sometimes it’s all about timing.
My process for creating content is kind of weird and structured in only a way I would understand. Most people plan everything to a T, but I work intuitively and it makes a big difference. I think my content comes out better for that very reason. When I create content I think about what I feel there’s a need for and who’s story I want to hear and tell. I get suggestions all of the time from readers as well, but I take suggestions bit by bit because MOK is personal and that very element is what has built my readership and following. The element makes it tailored to me and my point of view. So again, I’m thinking about what I think needs to be written about and who’s story I need to tell or share. I go from there and write it all down. For interviews, I send out the emails and for regular articles I start writing them back to back. I usually write about 3 stores at once. After that I decide when I want to post them. I don’t have a specific schedule for that, just when I feel the time is right. And it might sound odd because I know a lot of other people have editorial calendars and things like that. But MOK is a passion project and if I begin to make it too structured, it will take the joy and spontaneity out of it for me.
I don’t know and that’s what makes it exciting. I have no idea. With MOK, I go with the flow. I’m sure it’ll be bigger as a whole. There will be bigger features, better stories and more quality production. People think I’m insane for the way I handle my platform, but it’s doing just what it’s supposed to as it’s supposed to. It’s not in my nature to force things. MOK is my gift that keeps on giving in so many ways, from work opportunities, to collaborations and more, so in three years we’ll see. It has blessed me tremendously in the last 6 years.
[Update: Maricia Josephs has gone on to create DREAM IN HD, an online publication whose mission is to “share the stories of doers who dare to see their dreams in high definition, even when their paths look unclear“]