Jarrett Hill, a former employee of a Tampa, Fla., TV station, spoke Aug. 7, 2016, at the gospel brunch of the National Association of Black Journalists about his tweet comparing Melania Trump’s Republican National Convention speech to previous words by first lady Michelle Obama. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

Laid-off journalist prayed before noticing Melania Trump’s alleged plagiarism

WASHINGTON (RNS) The laid-off journalist credited with discovering alleged plagiarism in Melania Trump’s Republican National Convention speech said he prayed about career direction hours before his discovery.

“I’m going to be brief and I don’t mean that in the Baptist way that I was raised,” said Jarrett Hill at a gospel brunch during the National Association of Black Journalists meeting Sunday (Aug. 7) in Washington. “I’m the journalist that was sitting in Starbucks and sent out a tweet about Melania Trump.”

Hill, 31, a former staffer at WFTS-TV in Tampa, Fla., said he had had a difficult day on July 18, with “an interview that morning that just went flat.” That afternoon, he prayed for help.

“I said, 'Lord whatever it is you want me to do, even if it’s going to be an accountant,' which for me would be the worst but for someone else is fantastic,” he recalled. “I released it and said, 'Whatever you would have me do,' and that night I sat down and watched the RNC and recognized about 22 words coming from Melania Trump. And I know that is nothing but the grace of God that did that.”

He later covered the Democratic National Convention on a freelance assignment, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Hill, who described himself to RNS as a nondenominational Christian, was treated as a celebrity during the joint meeting of the NABJ and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, with fellow journalists standing in line to shake his hand and take photographs with him.