The University of Iowa University of Iowa

A Conversation with Joy Reid

Joy Reid visited the University of Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 19, first as a guest lecturer at Hancher Auditorium and second as an on-air guest in the KRUI studio.

Joy Reid during her speech at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City. Image via Olivia Lapchick.

Reid currently hosts “The ReidOut” on MSNBC, and was the first black woman to host a primetime cable news program. In her speech at Hancher, Reid led listeners through her life and explained how she got here. Being “here,” of course, meant being a nationally recognized and award-winning journalist and political analyst. Her story began with her adventurous, West Indies mother, who Reid said pushed her to learn about and explore her passions.

After her lecture, an audience Q&A, and a reception, Reid visited KRUI for an interview. The interview was conducted by KRUI editor-in-chief Lauren Asman, KRUI writer Sebastian Buchman, and Daily Iowan reporter Kate Perez. Also in the studio were Daily Iowan photographer Olivia Lapchick and DITV reporter Johnny Valtman. Alex Lenaers, KRUI’s production director, engineered the live interview and edited the audio for re-upload.

Listen to the full interview on Spotify.

The internet has produced a lot of bite-sized information, Reid said, and as a result, people are reading less and not always absorbing accurate information. “I definitely think the narrowing of the American palette has been bad for journalism and bad for the country,” Reid said. To correct this, she said, mainstream media should practice transparency and try to lead audiences to a wide range of journalists and investigative pieces.

Reid urged new journalists to sharpen their writing skills, and to read as much as possible. The journalist shared her past affinity for Russian novels, including “War and Peace,” as an example. She encouraged listeners to branch out and explore new subjects. “Read the banned books,” Reid said. “Those are the first things that should be on your list.” She also recommends conducting interviews, and learning how to listen to interviewees.

Joy Reid in-studio at KRUI. Image via Olivia Lapchick.

The interview covered racial politics as well. Reid broke down the difference between racism on an individual level and racism on an institutional level. She also explained her thoughts on recent legislation to ban critical race theory. She explained how the phrase “critical race theory” is a law school program that has been negatively branded, primarily by conservative Christopher Rufo, and is now inaccurately associated with all race-related education. “Trying to ban critical race theory is dumb, because they’re still going to teach it in law school,” Reid said.

Reid’s final insights featured a humorous riff on getting her Jamaican godmother to eat steak medium-rare, and shoutouts to several journalists and political experts. She listed Rachel Maddow, Nicole Wallace, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Adam Serwer and David Folkenflik as examples of good reporters and writers.

Joy Reid with the interview hosts. From left to right: Kate Perez, Sebastian Buchman, and Lauren Asman. Image via Olivia Lapchick.

Access the full conversation and other interviews at