“One morning I was getting ready for a pretty early class and my roommate ran into the bathroom and said a plane just hit the World Trade Center.

I was 18. Just kind fresh to the city … By the time I made it to class, the second one had hit and we were back in the dorm watching this tragedy unfold … Some of us decided, To leave and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

I just remember staying calm and wanting really desperately to move towards the disaster, to understand what was happening. I just felt like I had the constitution for something like that, and that was the day that I decided I wanted to be a journalist.”

Bobbi-Jeanne Misick is an investigative reporter for Gulf States Newsroom based in New Orleans. She’s done several memorable pieces in the last few years, including ones on hair discrimination and the mistreatment of Cameroonian asylum seekers in private detention centers.

Here are a couple of things we learned from our conversation with her. You can hear the full interview here.

Always pay close attention in City Hall meetings

“I was sitting in a Zoom City Hall meeting for an unrelated story.

At the time I was the only black reporter at WWNO. They talked about a presentation that had been done in the previous City Hall meeting and then they passed this historic act called the Crown Act which is an act that has been drafted in several states now, and different municipalities that basically prohibits race-based hair discrimination …

What we’ve found is that black women have really borne the brunt of that discrimination. I told my editors this is a big deal. To their credit, they really, they agreed with me. I wanted to do a feature and a photo essay and just kind of move on and they kept pushing for something bigger. Our story came out maybe like a month after this had happened, but we just put the time in to make it something really beautiful.

I got a Murrow Award for that. It just kind of shows you how important certain things are to like people’s psyche and wellbeing.”

Keep checking on that itch

“Cameroonians did better than a lot of other people detained in the Gulf South, in terms of asylum, when you just look at the raw numbers.

But I think that having that not be good enough for me, allowed me to keep(wondering) why do I still feel like they are experiencing a deep injustice and why is this still important to highlight the plight of this particular group of people.

I just think most investigative reporters have this itch that you just have to keep scratching at until you’re satisfied.”