Mt. Juliet has hired its first public information officer — former TV reporter Justin Beasley, who took the reins of the position in September.
Beasley’s previous position was at WSMV-Channel 4 as a news and sports reporter. He said the pandemic played a huge role in his decision to apply for the PIO position.
“When the shutdown began in March 2020, I had been five months into my dream job as a sports anchor in Nashville,” he said. “I had covered the Titans-Chiefs AFC Championship Game, and actually covered one of the few (college basketball) conference championship games that finished before the shutdown, in Evansville, Ind., when Belmont won the OVC Tournament. Little did I know, that was my last game I would cover as a sports reporter for Channel 4.”
Beasley lives in Murfreesboro with his wife, Karianne, and their Labrador retriever, Winston. Beasley was born in Memphis, grew up in West Tennessee and graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a degree in broadcast journalism. His first job out of college was in Paducah, Ky., as a sports reporter. He moved to Nashville and was hired at WSMV in 2017.
“When the shutdown happened, I didn’t want to sit and wait for sports to return,” said Beasley. “I had to help out my station however I could, so I sent an email asking my bosses how I could help out in other areas, so they moved me to the morning with Joe Dubin (now the host of Main Street Media’s digital morning show). We covered feel good, inspiring, small business stories until late October together, when they assigned me a new role to cover hard news in Wilson and Sumner County.”
Mt. Juliet City Manager Kenny Martin said the city created the PIO position to keep citizens better informed. Beasley will be the spokesperson for the city and the Fire Department of Mt. Juliet.
“Many counties and cities are adding public information officers to their staffs to not only help local governments keep their constituents better informed, but to also provide an avenue for our constituents to get their messages and events out as well,” said Martin. “Communication is vitally important in today’s fast-paced times, so keeping those we serve informed is very important to us and vitally important to our citizens. Justin has already proven to be wonderful asset and with his impressive background in broadcast journalism he is the perfect fit for Mt. Juliet and has hit the ground running.”
Beasley said his friend Bart Barker, who is the PIO for Wilson County Schools, forwarded him the information about the Mt. Juliet position. Beasley said because his position is the first of its kind for the city, he could help to create the parameters.
“I don’t want to be a traditional PIO,” said Beasley. “I want to tell feature stories on camera, take people to events through Facebook Live, engage the audience with polls and questions on social media, meet with Rotary Clubs and go to chamber of commerce events. I want to be out and about in the community as often as possible. The less I’m in my office, the better I’m doing my job. Plus, the new medium for consuming news, of any kind, is through our phones. I will be working in a digital space where everyone is and ready to see what’s going on in the city.”
Writing grants, event coordination, media responsibilities and public speaking opportunities are also important aspects of the job, said Beasley.
“I’m very enthusiastic,” he said. “It doesn’t take much to excite me. Also, with my faith in Jesus, I try to be thankful about the smallest of things, like food on my plate, clothes on my back, a roof over my head. We as humans complicate things a lot. I try to keep a Christian perspective with me at all times.”
Martin said he is a big fan of Beasley.
“Justin is most passionate about Mt. Juliet and is a breath of fresh air,” said Martin. “He has a wonderful personality, and his enthusiasm is contagious. I encourage anyone in our great community to reach out to Justin to see how he may help you get your message out regarding community events, fundraisers, and anything that helps our residents and human beings in general. I am most proud of Justin and feel blessed to have him on our team.”