Cierra Smith

I am Cierra Smith and I am a storyteller.

All of my experiences as a young, black woman from Spanish Harlem have influenced my work and my aspirations to tell the stories of those often left untold. My diverse experience from unique opportunities abroad, launching the SE Cupp Unfiltered show at the world's most watched news network, CNN and being hands on in communities like that of Spanish Harlem have significantly influenced the way I view the world and how I created my solution oriented approach to my work. Using visuals as my primary form of expression, I focus on creating work that explores the relationships between identity and space, typically using complex characters as the driving force and their experiences of trial and tribulation as the inspiration.


I first fell in love with storytelling in high school. I remember constantly being overwhelmed by my home and social life but being able to release my dreams and aspirations into creative stories. In my senior year I found myself speaking of failures and triumphs that I endured as a young, black woman growing up in Spanish Harlem and in this I felt empowered. My story helped me interact with people of similar backgrounds and influenced me to assist with telling their truth through journalism and specifically through video production. As I started to experiment in Syracuse I saw that I was able to tell the most truthful stories through my own lens. Exploring the stories of high poverty levels resulting in food desserts and low investment in education in the city of Syracuse I was moved to continue to do this work.

I became an avid news consumer and as a result began to critically think about solutions for disadvantages that plagued communities of color. My solution oriented approach to social issues was set while doing many of my projects because what is a leader in any industry without solutions? One of my first projects, "Too Colored for Cancer?" explored the stigma around skin cancer in communities of color. I was able to speak with dermatologists of color and community leaders who oriented around the growing percentage of people of color affected by skin cancer and was able to produce a cohesive evergreen piece for PRX. This project was awarded the 2017 NABJ Salute to Excellence award.

With a thirst to further my experience in storytelling on an international scale, I obtained an internship at CNN on the CNN Heroes team and the next year for the CNN Digital Video Development team. I was able to work with their production teams to maintain post production schedules, prepare gear for shoots and to produce supportive graphics in order to improve my editorial judgment and to produce my own content on As a production assistant for 2 years I assumed a variety of responsibilities including pitching and coordinating with producers and senior staff on scripts and editorial concepts for compelling segments and packages, researching archival elements and daily editing and publishing of VO’s and sound bites for the entire show using CNN video databases and Adobe Premiere Pro CC all under extremely tight deadlines. On my free time I am working on coordinating web series with my friends on social action as well as producing my own mini-docs of local social action campaigns.

My substantial experience in high pressure newsrooms and my passion for aesthetically appealing, fact driven content make me an asset to any newsroom or production based department.


My passions are rooted in: Curiosity for the human condition, Creating solutions to issues that plague minority communities, sharing knowledge and producing visually appealing and informative work that will create policy change and transcend global communities.

These passions, as well as my curiosity in the relationship between identity and space, have led me to create pieces such as "Too Colored for Cancer?" which won the NABJ 2017 Salute to Excellence Award.



●  Coordinated and Pitched editorial concepts of daily news angles to EP, SP and producers

●  Lead editorial video for ‘18 Midterms and 2020 presidential candidates’ campaign rally coverage

●  Edited & Published VO’s and soundbites on Adobe Premiere Pro CC for breaking news, live shows & social

●  Managed editorial video and graphics while launching conservative show, SE Cupp Unfiltered


●  Developed, shot and wrote three videos for

●  Pitched, Edited & Researched daily videos using Adobe Premiere Pro CC for evergreen projects

●  Supported Pre and post production shoots i.e. scheduled travel, prepared audio and lighting gear

●  Researched, Conducted & Transcribed short form interviews for perspective hero candidates

●  Production assistant for 10t h & 11t h anniversary tribute show/Assisted with live shots

●  Provided quick solutions to producers about maximum optimization while developing a compelling

episodic series


●  Lead pre and post production shoots using Adobe Premiere Pro, Facebook Live, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope, Snapchat and 360 videos

●  Budgeted journalism events of up to $20k for guests i.e. Anderson Cooper, Judy Smith and Audrey Irvine

●  2017 Salute to Excellence Recipient “Too Colored for Cancer?”





(B.S.) Broadcast & Digital Journalism Cum Laude

Minor: African American Studies

  • Madrid Center ’15

  • Cuba Center ’16


Skills & Abilities


● Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, ENPS, News Source, Video Stitch (360 Video), WordPress, Mail Chimp, iNews, AVID, CMS, Media Source and Mira


● Canon DSLR C300, Canon 5D Mark III, Canon C100,
Sony NX5U, Sony Alpha 5100, and 360Heros


● Optimistic, Organized, Creative, Problem solver, Persistent, Dependable and Self-motivated



2017 NABJ Salute to Excellence Award

Dean’s List: Fall ‘13 to May ‘17

Delta Sigma Theta McLeod Bethune Scholar

National Society of Collegiate Scholars



Carl Williott
Line Producer, CNN

Tennille Tatum
Independent Civil Family Lawyer

Founder, Harlem Girls Cheer

Tawanda Scott
Digital Senior Producer, CNN





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