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Briana Rice

Briana Rice

New Voices '23

Tell us about yourself:

My name is Briana and I'm a public radio reporter who covers Detroit for Michigan Radio. Usually, I focus on city government, housing and economic mobility, but lately I’ve been covering how the violence in Gaza and Israel is affecting people in Southeast Michigan.

I didn’t grow up reading, listening to, or watching much news, so I like to prioritize covering communities who are underrepresented and underserved, much like the one I grew up in. 

I strive for my work to respond to the questions listeners have about their communities and the everyday news and cultural events that surround them. Before working in audio, I was a newspaper reporter at the Cincinnati Enquirer. I sometimes write poems and short fiction as well. I was recently named 2022’s Young Journalist of the Year by Detroit’s Society of Professional Journalists.

When I’m not working, I like to read, cook, hang out with my dog and cat, listen to podcasts and watch movies. I consume a lot of media!

A piece of yours or project (in any medium) that you'd like to share.

Michigan Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib — the only Palestinian-American member of Congress — was recently censured for her rhetoric over the Israel-Hamas war.

I talked with Jewish and Palestinian Michiganders about what the slogan, “From the River to the sea, Palestine will be free,” means to them and what they feel when they hear it.

What draws you to storytelling?

I love talking to people and I love writing. There is so much in the world that we don’t know about and don’t understand about each other. I love helping bridge that gap by telling the stories that matter to people in ways they can connect with.

It means so much to me how much folks open up and trust me to get their stories right. It’s a passion of mine to tell diverse stories and I hope to create more pathways for folks of all backgrounds to talk and be heard.

What excites you the most about being a New Voices Scholar?

This fellowship has really opened my eyes to all of the possibilities of audio storytelling outside of working as a public radio reporter.

I am learning so much from my cohort and feel grateful to get to spend time getting to know them all.

What’s playing on your radio/audio streaming service right now?

My favorite podcast this year has been You Didn’t See Nothin’.

You Didn’t See Nothin’ was so personal, genre-bending, riveting and a lesson in narrative storytelling. It follows Yohance Lacour, a former New Voices scholar, as he talks about a 1997 hate crime on the South Side of Chicago and how that violence affected the rest of his life.

Really inspiring and incredible work - a reflection on journalism, prison, family and where we grow up.

What’s the most underrated tool (technical or not) that you use in your creative process?

I would say it’s talking to someone about my ideas. Whether it’s an editor or my friends, if I ever feel stuck, I can usually figure it out once I start talking through my holdups out loud with someone. Especially with radio, I have learned to trust my instincts about what things excite me the most about an interview and HOW I explain that thing to someone else.

What is something you want to see more of in the industry?

I want to see more young people of color getting the opportunities to tell stories the way they’d like to tell them. It’s really easy to say we’ve always done something this way - but it also can be really easy to give someone a chance to try something new.

Young, diverse voices matter, they always have, and I want to see the industry allow us to try things too.

Who/What are your radio/audio inspirations and why?

I’m a huge fan of Brittany Luse and It’s Been a Minute. The episode on box braids is one of my favorite, most relevant-feeling episodes of culture reporting that I’ve heard in a long time.

She does a great job of centering young, diverse audiences and answering cultural questions that are very of the moment. I’m constantly learning from the ways she asks questions and interacts with guests.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’m always looking to connect with more people of color working in public radio! I’m so grateful to have found AIR and to have been selected as a New Voices fellow.

Connect with Briana on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.