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Darla Miles Gives Spelman Women a Glimpse into her World

June 2022

Spelman Alumna Darla Miles Speaks About her Journalism CareerDarla Miles, C’95, is an Emmy award-winning reporter and the creator/executive producer of the Hulu true crime documentary, “Set the Record Straight: The Jam Master Jay Case,” which takes an unprecedented look at the life, death and legacy of rap pioneer Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell of RUN DMC fame.

A Fort Worth, Texas native, Miles graduated from Spelman with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Spanish. She began her journalism career as a teleprompter operator in the Atlanta office of CNN en Español, a Pan-American Spanish-language news channel, owned by CNN Global. Always prepared for a challenge, Miles worked her way up the ranks in various technical roles to become a creative service producer. She was also a part of the original team that successfully launched CNN en Español as a 24-hour network.

From CNN, Miles secured reporting and anchoring roles at ABC affiliates in Augusta, Georgia; Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina; and Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. Once again, she worked her way up the ladder as a weekend anchor for CNN Headline News before assuming her current position as a reporter for the WABC-TV, Channel 7 Eyewitness News in New York City, New York. Miles, who is lauded for her no-nonsense reporting and calm demeanor, has also served as a fill-in anchor for ABC’s World News Now and America This Morning.

Throughout her career, Miles has been afforded numerous opportunities to cover some of the biggest news stories in the nation. Most recently, she covered the Brooklyn, New York subway shooting, the investigation of Governor Andrew Cuomo, the assassination of New York Police Department detectives Wilbert Mora and Jason Rivera, and the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.

Spelman Alumnae Darla MillsAs a hard-hitting investigative reporter, Miles has also gained notoriety for a fun, viral video of her blocking a pedestrian from entering her live shot. The clip has been viewed and shared by more than 20 million users and was featured as the “Play of the Day” on Good Morning America.

Miles is an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Links, Incorporated. In addition to her work at WABC-TV, 
as a third-generation HBCU graduate, she often volunteers and dedicates much of her free time to service projects. In 2021, she was honored with the “We are the Light Award” for community service by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Bergen-Passaic chapter.  A fierce advocate for underserved communities, Miles routinely works to develop and implement programming for at-risk youth, children in foster care and shut-in seniors. 

Set the Record Straight Official Trailer


Spelman Alumna Darla Miles: In Her Own Words 

Q: How did your experiences at Spelman prepare you to tackle the difficult work you do as an award-winning investigative reporter?

The late Pat Johnson had the biggest influence on me as a student at Spelman. She was a member of the class of 1973 and served for many years as the director of Alumnae Affairs, the department in which I was assigned work study for four years.

Not only did this experience shape my understanding of our powerful alumnae sisterhood early on, but Pat immediately embraced and supported my aspiration to become a broadcaster at a time in the early 90’s when it was deemed a “risky” choice of profession. This was at a time when my peers were pursuing “real careers” and becoming doctors and lawyers and engineers. So pursuing a career as an on-air anchor/reporter was considered narrowly achievable.  

blue-quote-leftShe would always say, “I can see it - Late Night with D-Miles!” Pat was among the first who believed in me and pushed me hard to achieve my dreams. There was no other option. 

I must also give much credit to the Spelman College culture that empowers young African American females to refuse to reduce themselves, but to leap into their individual awesomeness (which Pat Johnson truly embodied). Appearing on live TV daily in front of millions of people for more than 20 years requires a lot of self-confidence. There is always a lot of criticism --  whether it be about your weight, your hair, your clothing, controversial subject matter, social justice issues or whatever other harsh opinion is hurled your way.


blue-quote-leftI had to reprogram my brain not to care what anyone thought of me to survive in this industry. I'm not sure I would have been able to do so without the strong sense of self I obtained while at Spelman.

Q: Speak to a young first-year Spelman student interested in pursuing a career similar to yours. What specific advice would you give her? 

It is exciting to me that there is now an expansive landscape of opportunities for young students that simply didn’t exist when I was at Spelman. CNN was the only 24-hour news network. FOX and MSNBC came along in 1996.

First, I would tell students to be intentional about what branch of the media industry they wish to pursue. So often we see interns who get into news but who are really interested in sports or entertainment. If you’re interested in sports, pursue a career in sports. If you’re interested in a career in entertainment, shoot for a career in entertainment.

blue-quote-leftBeing a news reporter is bigger than a profession. It’s a seat at the table that carries a hefty duty to advocate for equity in news coverage. More importantly, freedom of the press is the backbone of democracy and is a major responsibility for anyone who serves as a journalist on any medium --  print, broadcast or digital.

Q: What does the next five years look like for you? What do you desire to achieve professionally and/or personally? 

blue-quote-leftI govern my personal and professional goals in the form of an outline, not a blueprint. Life has taught me two valuable lessons -- your plan never goes as planned and ‘the master plan’ is most certainly far better than anything you ever planned.  

That said, while not limiting my sights, I can tell you a few things I’d like to accomplish in the next five years:

Professionally, I see myself continuing to expand my storytelling on multiple verticals, like executive producing more long-form, high-impact streaming content like the award- winning documentary, “Set The Record Straight: The Jam Master Jay Case." I'm exploring content options for a podcast and I'd like to complete a memoir I’ve been painstakingly working on for a number of years about the sudden loss of my husband.

On the philanthropic front, I’m working on, along with my siblings. an educational project for underserved communities in honor of my father who was a long-time public school educator, I’m also stepping into entrepreneurship and will be launching a line of HBCU pet apparel (inspired by my dog child Dallas, the English Bulldog) in late summer.  

Personally, I’ve been very forthcoming about the early death of my husband, my age and fertility struggles. So, prayerfully I will see some tiny footprints in my near future.

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