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Marissanne Lewis-Thompson headshot

Marissanne Lewis-Thompson

New Voices '22

Tell us about yourself:

I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. Spotting a good plate of BBQ is in my DNA. In the before times, I earned my Bachelor of Journalism degree at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism in 2015. I am currently a newscaster and general assignment reporter at St. Louis Public Radio where I’ve covered stories on history, religion, social justice and education. In my free time, you will likely find me reading a good webtoon or reading my all-time favorite manga Berserk. I love binge watching a good anime or documentary too.

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

The Doin’ It Our Way podcast is some of my best work. It explores why some Black families in the St. Louis region are choosing to homeschool, how they are managing to do it, and what the kids think about it. You can listen to all three episodes now wherever you get your podcasts.

What draws you to storytelling?

There is an honesty and vulnerability that shines through a person’s voice when they’re sharing their story on the radio that has always stuck with me. It takes a lot of trust to open up to someone with a mic and recorder in their face.

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

This opportunity came at the right time in my life professionally. Connecting with so many talented journalists and storytellers of color has been a highlight. It’s nice being in a space with other like-minded creatives that want to make this industry better for this generation and the ones that come after us. I was paired with a phenomenal mentor that understands my vision, my desire to grow, and navigate this industry. I can’t wait to see where this journey will lead me in the end.

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

Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson are always on heavy rotation in my home. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite song or album. Let’s be real, they have the kind of catalogs that match whatever mood I’m in. I’ve been listening to a lot of Simon & Garfunkel, Sade, the Cranberries, and Dreams Come True. That’s the shortlist.

Non music-related stuff, I’m a big fan of NPR’s Throughline. I’ve really been enjoying HISTORY This Week lately too. You really can’t go wrong with either of these podcasts if you love history.

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

Post It Notes are a must. I always have some around. When I have an idea for how I want to write something or who I want to talk to, I write it down on a sticky note. It’s actually easier for me to find what I need that way instead of combing through a notebook. Talking out a story idea with a friend or someone I trust. It’s a good way to develop an idea into a story pitch.

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

Storytellers and journalists of color deserve the space to grow and learn in this industry in peace. I also want to continue to see more Black journalists thrive in audio. Representation is so important in who we tell stories about and who is telling the stories.

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

Jonquilyn Hill. Her podcast Through The Cracks still sticks with me. There are plenty of podcasts, TV shows/networks, and threads dedicated to missing white people. Jonquilyn flipped the script and basically said, no, you’re going to care about Relisha Rudd too. Missing Black and brown girls deserve the same amount of time, attention and resources. The writing and reporting were just so captivating throughout. It’s not an easy listen, but it’s worth every minute.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Thanks for letting me share a little bit about me.

Follow Marissanne on Twitter.