If you read the online magazine, Open Mic, you’ll undoubtedly recognize the name Tianna Manon. Tianna is one of the publication’s lead authors as well as its Editor-in-Chief.
Long before she became a published journalist, she hosted an RCTV show called TALKBACK4Teens. The program, which gives teens a venue and safe haven to discuss topics of concern, is produced by John Ornelas, an Independent Producer at RCTV.
“John was one of the first people to believe in me, after my mother,” she laughs.
“I started as a guest on one of the shows on teen sexuality and pregnancy, then John invited me to host. I’m really into print, and I told him I would only accept the position if I could revamp the website.”
Not only did she revamp it, but she also wrote for the site and maintained it during her tenure as Host, over a period of two years.
“There’s really nothing else like TALKBACK4Teens, covering the youth perspective. My role here opened up a lot of opportunities for me, such as blogging for Tavis Smiley and others,” she confided.
She stepped away from host and web editor only after she was in college, and when she undertook two internships in Washington, DC. Following her internships, she turned down positions at Mother Jones and at the The Atlantic, and began writing about real estate for Urban Turf. But her heart wasn’t in real estate, so she decided to return to Rochester. After graduating from RIT with a major in Journalism and Poly-sci, and giving her class’ graduation speech, she began working with Publisher Shappelle Thompson at Open Mic, a Rochester, NY-based online Black publication.
Tianna explains that she was attracted to the publication because it features “hard news,” and the articles are research-based, covering black news and culture, weeding out any stories that aren’t legitimate, and also investigating topics of critical import such as political representation, violence, education and poverty.
With regard to the mission of Open Mic, she explained, “We work to represent the Black community without diminishing its voice.”
In addition to “hard news” topics, the magazine incorporates other topics of interest, such as the profiles she did on five of the best black-owned restaurants in the city. She explained that that type of coverage in important because it helps keep local businesses competitive.
Tianna was recently selected to present one of the upcoming TEDxFlourCity Talks taking place on November 5 from 9 AM to 5 PM at the The Rochester Academy of Medicine located at 1441 East Avenue in Rochester. This year’s theme is “Taking Roots.” If her presentation is even half as dynamic as this lady journalist, you’ll be impressed, entertained and informed.