Versha Sharma , Josh Johnson returns to Centenary for virtual convocation

Centenary College highlights alumni working in national media

A free virtual convocation on Thursday, February 4, will give participants the chance to sit in on a wide-ranging conversation between two Centenary College alumni working in the fast-paced national media arena. Versha Sharma ’08, senior correspondent at NowThis, interviews Josh Johnson ’12, a writer for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, in this event organized by Centenary’s Convocations Committee and supported by the Attaway Professorships in Civic Culture.

The conversation between Sharma and Johnson will be available via Zoom webinar beginning at 6pm on Thursday, Feb. 4. Following the conversation, Sharma will join Jeanne Hamming, Ph.D. professor of English at Centenary, for a live Q&A. The webinar is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required at centenary.edu/alumniconversation.

Sharma, a native of Alexandria, Louisiana, graduated from Centenary in 2008 with a degree in political science. She has been living and working as a journalist in New York City for more than ten years and currently serves as the senior correspondent at NowThis, focusing on politics and culture reporting. In this role she has interviewed President Obama, President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Oprah, Alicia Keys, U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Hillary Clinton, among others, and has moderated high profile panels across the country, featuring participants such as Representatives Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley, and Stacey Abrams.

An enthusiastic voice for the most innovative models in digital journalism for more than a decade, Sharma was previously Managing Editor of NowThis from 2015-2019, managing the company’s emerging platforms strategy and overseeing 2016 Election coverage. Prior to NowThis, she worked as a reporter and editor for Vocativ, another digital-first news outlet, where she managed a team of international reporters. Sharma got her start in digital journalism at Talking Points Memo, where she went from unpaid intern to deputy publisher over the course of three years. There, she learned about every aspect of the business, from writing, reporting, and editing to publishing, managing social media, and advertising.

Sharma has filed video dispatches on immigration from the U.S.-Mexico border, reported from mass protests in St. Louis, and traveled to Moscow, Russia for the show she hosted and produced, The Russia Desk. She has made multiple guest appearances on MSNBC, Bloomberg TV, Cheddar.tv, and Channel 4 News in the UK. As part of the NowThis Reports team in 2018, Sharma won an Edward R. Murrow award for a short documentary about the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. She also covered the 2012 presidential election for MSNBC.

Johnson, also an Alexandria native, earned a degree in lighting design for theater from Centenary in 2012. He lives in New York City where he writes for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, performs regularly at The Comedy Cellar, and produces a weekly podcast, The Josh Johnson Show.

Johnson is a stand-up comedian, Emmy-nominated and NAACP award-winning writer and performer. Prior to his work on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Johnson was a writer and performer on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon where he made his late-night debut.

As a stand-up, Johnson was named Comedy Central’s “Comic to Watch” in 2015, a “New Face” at the Just for Laughs comedy festival in 2016, and ‘New York’s Funniest’ in 2018. His story “Catfishing the KKK” has amassed over 8.5 million views on YouTube and he is one of the most streamed comedians across Comedy Central’s digital platforms with over 31M views to date. In 2017, Comedy Central released his half-hour special Comedy Central Stand Up Presents…Josh Johnson and his album I Like You on Comedy Central Records. In 2018 his quarter hour special, as part of The Comedy Lineup, was released on Netflix.

Johnson’s other credits include, CONAN (TBS), @Midnight, Kevin Hart’s Hart of The CityThe New Negroes with Baron Vaughn & Open Mike Eagle, and This Week at The Comedy Cellar. He released his short form series GENIES, co-created with Luke Mones, last year on CC Digital. Johnson has spent the last couple years touring the world with Trevor Noah as a part of the Loud & Clear tour and he will tape his first hour special for Comedy Central, executive produced by Trevor Noah, in New York later this year.

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