Jarrett Hill is a journalist living in Los Angeles. But you probably recognize his name as the one who scooped everyone on Melania Trump’s plagiarism. And yes, there is an internship angle here. Here is our conversation.
Q: I read you were in a coffee shop when you put two and two together. Is that correct?
Jarrett: Yes, I was sitting in Starbucks watching the live stream of the Republican National Convention and semi-live tweeting when that weird moment – that brought me here – happened.
Q: How in the world did you remember Michelle Obama’s speech?
Jarrett: It was very odd. You know how you hear a song you haven’t heard in a long time and all of a sudden the words just come to you? And it’s like, oh, I never forgot this. It was kind of like that. I was doing some instant messaging and I heard the beginning of a phrase that I remembered loving Michelle Obama saying back in 2008. When she said “and you’re willingness to work for them,” I kind of had a pause and I was like, “Whoa. That’s weird.” Then I had a second pause of, “Oh my god, that’s really weird.” So, then I started to realize I knew those words. I knew those were Michelle Obama’s words. I just thought it was a short sentence that was lifted. Then, about an hour later there was a YouTube video of Melania’s speech where I was then able to rewind further and further and further and see that there was a whole paragraph of text that was lifted from Michelle Obama’s speech. So, I didn’t remember the whole speech obviously but I remembered a series of words there that stuck out to me.
Q: How’s your day going?
Jarrett: My Twitter has been outrageous. One of the tweets I saw go by was like: R.I.P. to your mentions. My mentions on Twitter have been literally rolling one tweet after another for about 18 hours now. My email box has been alerting. It’s been unbelievably crazy.
Q: Do you want to focus on social media for your career?
Jarrett: Social media wasn’t something that I was like, “Oh, I really want to get into social media.” It was something I used a lot. Then, the opportunity came along (at my last job) and that was the way it presented itself: it was using social media and presenting it on TV. Social media became my job so I kind of immersed myself in it. If you are friends with me on Facebook, I share way too many things throughout the day because that was my job for a while.
Q: What experience, including internships, helped you along the way?
Jarrett: I’ve probably done more internships than anyone that I know. My first job was interning in radio in San Francisco. I’ve interned at an advertising agency. I’ve interned at a news station. I’ve interned at CNN. I saw a huge value in interning because it gave you the opportunity to see the work that you are interested in and see if it’s right for you. Working in television gave me a great perspective on the different jobs there were too. More than anything, it got me in front of people who can hire me, could get me hired somewhere else…It puts you in the room.
Q: How did it bring you to this point today – with all of this national attention?
Jarrett: I would say that my internships brought me to this point because I am juggling a lot of different jobs today. I am my own publicist today. I am my own media trainer today. I am writing. I’m responding and producing and all of these different things today. Interning is where I kind of learned how to wear all of those hats at one time. Sometimes, they are frivolous things you have to do like getting coffee or printing out scripts but sometimes it’s sitting in a meeting and hearing a discussion about strategy. You pick up that knowledge because you hear what you’re bosses are saying and see what your colleagues are doing. In these moments, you’re grateful you heard those conversations.
Screenshot of Jarrett Hill’s tweet (@JarrettHill)