What’s Your Poison got the opportunity to ask Femi Martin some questions. Femi, who often goes by the name Anthro Journo, is a freelance journalist based in New York and London, interviewing artists like Jill Scott, Robin Thicke and Common. She is also the founder and CEO of Creative Criss Cross, a movement of sorts that helps Creatives (artists, writers, poets, free-thinkers, etc) to come together in one place and support each other. Femi speaks about journalism and her company in the following interview.
-How did you get into the journalism industry? Growing up, was it something you knew you wanted to be?
I didn't grow up wanting to be a journalist, I actually made the decision to enter the field of journalism in 2006. My two biggest loves at the time were music and anthropology, which I studied at university. I had the idea to fuse the two and write anthropological reviews of live music shows. I did this for a while, and it was well received, but I began to feel restricted. What I soon learned is that more than being a music-lover or an anthropologist, I am first and foremost a writer. The pursuit of journalism was really about me branching out and exploring the depth of my writing ability.
-How competitive would you say the journalism field is?
I know that there are definitely more writers than there are desirable writing jobs, and that alone makes it a competitive field. On a personal level though I'm quite oblivious to the notion of competition; I try not to sign up to the idea of it at all. My job is to focus on myself, and whether or not I'm performing to my full potential.
-Have you experienced any racism or any other obstacles in this field? If so, how did you overcome this?
There will always be times when things don't go your way. Most of my obstacles have probably been things I've placed in my own path due to a lack of focus or consistency. I believe you can jump over most things, and if not, then it might be time to blaze a new trail.
-What advice do you have for young journalists trying to be successful?
Well I think you have to be a writer before you become a journalist; so I would say that the most important thing is to find out what kind of writer you are. I think you should explore your style and really get comfortable with who you are as a writer. The greatest advice I can give in terms of getting into journalism is to never rule anything out. I got my start by e-mailing an editor asking for an internship. He liked my e-mail so much that he interviewed me and then gave me a chance to write for the magazine. So I believe that you should try all avenues, send all e-mails, and make room for the unexpected.
-Tell us about your company Creative Criss Cross.
Creative Criss Cross is an idea that was borne out of conversations with friends. It is a company designed to encourage creative people to think in terms of community. The hope is that the sharing of knowledge, information and wealth between us will help to change the lives of every person in the movement. Creative Criss Cross also helps to provide a space where that interaction can take place.
Mission Statement: To highlight the need for Creatives to invest in the livelihood of fellow Creatives by employing each other, supporting each other's businesses, and exchanging services.
(click pic for more info)
-The world of journalism can get pretty hectic. What keeps you grounded?
Friendship, laughter and meditation seem to be a winning combination for me. I don't really need to stay 'grounded' because I'm nowhere near important or rich enough to be off the ground; but these things do help me to maintain focus and remind me about what's really important in life.
-Who or what inspires you?
Life inspires me; life and its ever-changing nature. I've learned that you have to jump on board or get left behind.
-Finally, what's the motto you live by?
"It is not enough to do your best; you must do what is required by the situation." - Cathy Hughes