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February 2020 | Magazine Issue

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Jeff Fard | Multimedia Journalist

Jeff  S.  Fard,  Colorado  native,  known  as  Brother  Jeff,    is a multimedia journalist, historian, and community organizer. Fard is a national speaker to youth, students, social organizations, and professionals. There are a vast amount of topics Fard speaks on like cultural identity and history, diversity, self-empowerment, community building, economic development, health disparities, and the uniting power or art. Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center, founded in 1994, is located in the historic Five Points District of Northeast Denver. It was a space established for nurturing growth, strength, and develop the voice of the community. Brother Jeff is also a publisher and editor of the award-winning monthly publication 5 Points News.
5.18.Education.Brother-Jeff

What do you do?

I am a multimedia journalist. I use print media, radio, and various social media platforms to help make [the Black] community and the broader community more aware of all of the different aspects of Black culture throughout Colorado.

Why do you think using social media to raise awareness has been effective for you?

I use social media very strategically. I understand that throughout time people have communicated and disseminated information. The only different thing is the medium. A lot of individuals don’t understand the tenants of media and how it works. Those who are successful are just like any other professional. They study the trends, and they learn the pros and cons. They also target their audiences and understand analytics. Most people see the end result, but they rarely see what’s under the hood. It takes work to make anything successful, that is true of media as well. Most folks think it’s easy just to go ahead and point a camera at themselves and hit play, but effective communication is an art, a skill. Creating compelling content takes work. When those at the highest level do it well, it looks deceptively simple. Knowing the fundamentals allows you to be more creative and flexible to improvise, just like a seasoned musician.

What advice would you give to people who are trying to follow your footsteps?

I would encourage anybody who wants to succeed in any field, to look at those who are at the top of that game. Then, study the principles and the work ethic that they employ. And then I would say ask questions. I’ve never really been denied access to anybody when I’m seeking assistance, advice, or information. Today it’s easier because you can inbox practically anybody on social media. When you make contact with an individual, be clear about what you are seeking from them because everybody has limited time.

The most successful people are the ones that will come to any professional and say how do you do XY and Z and what can I do to become more successful, and that puts the person you’re asking in a humble position. It also puts them in a position to be studious, and now you’re having a valuable exchange of someone’s time. Lots of people pay a lot of money to learn these lessons, but if you can just humble yourself and ask someone the right questions, You can save yourself a lot of time and money in today’s world. 

 How important is it to you to have a good team around you?

The team concept is integral to what I do. Technology allows you to do a lot with a little. We have minimal equipment and minimal space, but I have reliable people that I have been working with for years. We’re all on the same page in terms of being able to adapt quickly to whatever we’re doing. Nowadays, what it used to take 100 people to accomplish, you can do with ten reliable people. You’ve got to have visionary people, you’ve got to have people who are skilled at their position.

How long did it take to develop these partnerships you have?

People would be surprised at how many contacts I have just in my cell phone and the relationships I have. So the question is, how do you develop it? Over time you build your relationships one at a time. You do this by finding ways to make your connections personal and meaningful.

I’ve always been interested in things that work, and curious people are the ones that tend to create great things. I’ve been around a lot of people, and I can whittle down certain principles that I would say are universal to success:

    • Be curious. It’s how you get creative and very skilled at your position.
    • Show me somebody that’s up working when everybody’s asleep, and I’m going to show you somebody that’s going to be successful.

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