Trudy Joseph, class of ‘17, earned her degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She currently works in Los Angeles as a managing editor at Apple Music Today producing and writing stories that connect us emotionally with the songs.
However, Joseph finds herself longing to be a champion for humanity on a deeper level. Long-term she hopes to become an advocate for black women in the media by empowering them to take charge of their success in a truly meaningful way.
“My purpose is to create a fairer workplace for people who look like me,” Joseph said. “I want to create a journalism field that is more inclusive and create an environment where young black women in journalism have the proper pathways to succeed in the industry.”
Her interest in journalism was piqued as a high school student after watching Broadcaster Soledad O’Brien on CNN’s Black in America, a documentary series about various issues regarding African Americans.
“I had never seen anything like that, let alone a black woman reporter,” Joseph said. “As I was watching, I knew this is the type of work I wanted to do.”
In her senior year at Springfield Central High School, she applied to the Chuck Stone Program for Diversity in Education and Media. She was one of 12 students selected to fly to Chapel Hill, N.C. during the summer of 2012 for a week-long intensive program where they had an opportunity to explore the different facets of journalism.
Inspiration came again for Joseph when she took a class with (former UMass Journalism Professor) Shaheen Pasha.
“It was powerful to see a professor of color dedicate a class to having an intense conversation about how we cover people that are from different backgrounds and how important it is for journalists to get out of their comfort zone,” she explained.
In the fall semester of her senior year at UMass, Joseph landed an internship in Washington D.C. with NPR’s Here and Now, where she researched and pitched story ideas, ran the radio boards, conducted pre-interviews, greeted guests, and prepared them for the live segment.
Afterward, she chose to remain in Washington D.C. to finish her last semester of college as an intern with ESPN’s The Undefeated, a sports and pop culture website, now rebranded as Andscape.
“Two black women were in charge at The Undefeated,” Joseph said. “It was powerful to see these women in decision-making positions and have it not be a foreign sight. I was working with people that look like me, who understood the things I was going through and it’s what shaped me.”
Joseph completed her internship with ESPN and unfortunately was not able to stay with the company as ESPN was going through layoffs. Upon graduation, she was offered a position with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as communications manager. She worked there for just under a year before eventually finding her way back to ESPN as the social producer for her favorite show, First Take. ESPN was her dream job, and she achieved that dream quickly. Joseph is most proud of a story she wrote about Patriots fans of color that made it onto ESPN’s homepage as the leading story.
“I started off my journalism career feeling empowered because of my experience with The Undefeated,” she said. “I wasn’t fearful because I had already seen what it looks like when black women are given the latitude to lead.”
However, for Joseph, after witnessing and being affected by a number of workplace disparities, she felt a calling to speak up for herself and on behalf of her colleagues who felt like they didn’t have a voice. This experience motivated her to want to bring about change for black women in the industry. After three years and many challenges, Joseph decided her journey with ESPN must come to an end.
As she began to regroup and process what was next for her, she landed a job at The Ringer, a sports and pop culture podcast network, and spent the next 18 months as a content producer.
The Ringer, owned by Spotify, was an easy transition for her because it reminded her of The Undefeated – a small studio producing big projects that go beyond the lens of traditional sports media. There, she did a lot of script work and produced Higher Learning, a podcast dissecting the biggest topics in Black culture, politics and sports, and Black Girls Songbook, a music podcast that celebrates and uplifts the talents of Black Women in the music industry.
Joseph joined Apple Music in July 2022 during the inception of Apple Music Today and was proud to be a part of its launch on Oct. 3, 2022. She’s grateful to be able to walk into a situation where her expertise and creative writing style have value.
Along with sharing music, Apple Music Today showcases musical artists and the stories behind or related to their songs. As managing editor, Joseph leads a cross-functional team of talented colleagues who contribute to the daily series placement on browse, radio, Apple Music News, and within the Apple Music Today show page. In addition to that, she’s responsible for choosing the songs for the daily features, researching and writing scripts that tell real-life stories related to the songs, and helping to produce the Apple Music talent who voice the scripts alongside her studio director.
“Apple is very keen on the human element and making those connections, so the idea was to humanize music,” Joseph said. “How many songs do we all consume in a day, a week, or even our lifetime? All of these songs have stories.”
Inspired by music’s ability to unlock memories and evoke emotions, Joseph thinks of ways to show people the “human side” of music and writes original content that connects people authentically, making the stories more impactful.
“Working at Apple Music Today is a labor of love for me,” she exclaimed.
Joseph continues to speak up for those who need their stories told, because just as each song has a story, so do people. She is grateful to have learned from all her experiences and focuses on maintaining that human connection to support women of color and especially young black women in their pursuit of a successful career in journalism.