Black Enterprise Features Alumna Keli Goff

Black Enterprise interviewed Keli Goff, an author, journalist, TV writer for the series “Being Mary Jane,” and Strategic Communications alumna.

She described for the magazine how she frames her career. “I’m a writer. It’s what I spend most of my time doing and what I’m most fulfilled doing. I’ve appeared on television a lot as a political analyst and a commentator. Some people would say that when you’re a multiplatform writer or journalist, you’re a storyteller….What inspires me the most [in my work] is asking myself what it is that I’m trying to say, or that I feel the need to say, and which platform will provide the best vehicle to tell that story. One of the reasons I transitioned into playwriting is that the media landscape was changing so much that it gets much harder to tell complex stories through traditional media.”

Goff, the author of books and articles on the intersection of pop culture, race, and politics, spoke about using media and writing to create social change. “There are all sorts of ways to contribute to society, and the arts is one of them; writing can be one of them. This is getting harder and harder to do through journalism because of the way the industry is changing...People aren’t really getting to know people’s stories….and a lot of what’s happening in media right now is you ‘know’ someone through their tweets, through the five minutes you saw them in a segment on a cable news show.”

She said, “If you have any interest in changing someone’s heart and mind, yelling at them [or telling them] that they’re a bad person based on a tweet or a segment, is not a productive way to get there. If you don’t understand where someone else is coming from who disagrees with you, it makes it hard for you to reach them – and for you to grow as a person.”

Goff called attention to the changing nature of careers in media and communications. “The model that our parents relied on, which is ‘go work at one place and you know you’re good for at least thirty years,’ just doesn’t exist anymore, particularly in media. You have to look out for yourself, carve your own pathway, and create your own journey. You [have to] do different kinds of writing because that’s the safest way to make sure that, if one gig falls through, you’re okay for the next month. Every person I know is, in some capacity, a freelancer...They’re doing different types of writing because that’s the smartest, most efficient and financially doable way to be a writer today.”

“I just wrote a column for The Daily Beast about Donald Trump’s comments about black America. Writing that was important for me….I feel very blessed that my day job is a job that I also happen to enjoy. All in all, I can say that, in the past few years, I haven’t had to have a job that was emotionally draining,” she said, ”and that’s a real gift.”

Read the rest of the interview at Black Enterprise, and find out more about the master’s program in Strategic Communications.