Angela Bronner Helm, a former editor at AOL Black Voices, Essence and other mainstream outlets, stopped by CCNY recently to talk about journalism. My student Keevin Brown wrote this story about her visit:
20 Years at the Helm: How Angela Bronner helm turned her passion for hip-hop into a career in journalism
Angela Bronner Helm, esteemed editor of both Essence and most recently Uptown Magazine, held a press conference Tuesday March 6th at the City College of New York in Harlem. The editor turned consultant, lectured a group of budding journalism students on her life story and how to navigate the ever-changing publishing industry.
Helm, 40, started out as a women and gender studies major and went on to get her masters in journalism at New York University. While in college, she fostered her love of hip-hop by DJing her favorite rap tunes alongside her best friend. “We were just really passionate about this culture,” said Helm.
This love of hip-hop culture, led Helm to pursue a writing career where she could express her passion. She advised the students to focus on what they love. “Study the industry you want to get into.”
This unbridled consumption of music, hip-hop culture, and knowing who is who, led Helm to seek an internship in her junior year of college at SONY Music. This would change the trajectory of her career.
A chance meeting with an editor of the notorious hip-hop publication, The Source, gave a young Helm her first job as a journalist. “I loved it!” said Helm while reminiscing, “it was about music, but it also incorporated writing as well. So I was like, yes, I want to work here.”
This enthusiasm for her craft led her from one lucrative opportunity to the next, which included a six-year stint at AOL’s Black Voices where she climbed the ranks to become managing editor. In addition to Helm’s meteoric rise at the online giant, she also soared from managing editor at the Harlem-based publication Uptown Magazine to become its editor-in-chief. Helm’s drive led her most recently from Essence Magazine’s executive editor, to venturing out on her own with her husband to start a consulting firm for publications.
With the “At the Helm Media” editorial consulting firm, Helm sets out to use her expertise to find news trends for publications. In parting Helm had this to say to the students: “A lot of your jobs will come through people you know,” she said, adding “you have to be very specific and not take no for an answer and get in however you can get in.”