The WMNF News team announces the addition of reporter Chris Young to the newsroom staff. Chris, who graduated from the University of Tampa last year, started on Feb. 20 and is off to a fast start.
“In just a couple of weeks, Chris went from being introduced to our portable recorders and studio equipment to interviewing a member of Congress,” said News and Public Affairs Director Sean Kinane.
The recent University of Tampa (UT) graduate says a confluence of interests in music, radio, news, and public speaking led him to apply for the job. In addition to hosting his own radio show for three years on UT’s campus radio station, Chris studied advertising, public relations, and communications, and is a born news junkie.
“I love to keep up with current events. I get the push notifications,” Chris said, naming CNN, The New York Times, and the Washington Post as some of the phone apps he regularly checks. “I have a love of music. I have a love of … radio. I have a love of speaking, so it really all melded.”
Chris aspires to be a journalist whose stories change people’s daily lives. As a young adult, a person of color, and a lifelong Floridian, Chris will bring unique and relevant perspectives to the news he reports.
“I feel like WMNF is one of the places where we [people of color] can really tell our stories,” Chris said, noting the many changes he has seen in Tampa over the last four to five years.
“The demographics are changing rapidly, and that’s been affecting people of color. Probably at a more rapid rate than any other demographic in Tampa or even in Florida,” he said, adding that he wants to tell stories from the perspective of those living through those experiences in our community.
Early in the job interview process, Chris shared his thoughts about a story he watched on “60 Minutes” about Black cemeteries in Clearwater and St. Petersburg. “They had built buildings on top of … predominantly African American grave sites, which was really controversial and really crazy to see. But it also hit home. It was a local story on a national level,” he said, and those types of stories resonate the most with Chris.
“For people who are affected or know somebody who is affected by a story like that adds a completely different layer,” he said. “I love stories that hit deep, that people can listen to and … take home with them.”
Chris also appreciates the “unfiltered” approach to journalism at WMNF that allows the freedom to report on the local stories about people whose voices and concerns are not covered by other media.
News is not the only WMNF programming Chris enjoys. He considers himself an artist at heart and appreciates music of all genres. He said, “You get something different … every single hour,” he said. “I think that’s exciting because it’s never boring, and it’s never predictable.”
As a college radio programmer, Chris found joy in connecting with listeners through music. “I think my favorite part was just being able to sit and not only listen to music, but also talk about it too,” he said, especially when sharing new releases. “I was hearing it for the first time. A lot of the listeners are hearing it for the first time,” he said, adding that it becomes “a shared experience that I feel like you can only get through music.”
In the WMNF Newsroom, Chris looks forward to interacting with people from the community and making a difference for them by using his communication skills creatively.
“I’m looking towards pretty much everything,” Chris said. “I’m preparing myself for everything.”
Read one of Chris Young’s first WMNF news stories:
“Indigenous activists stand with “Columbus 2” at pre-trial hearing”, published March 9, 2023
“Florida death penalty opponents protest execution of Donald Dilbeck,” published Feb. 24, 2023.