Chandelis Duster is an award-winning journalist and political reporter covering breaking news for CNN.
Born and raised in Florence, Alabama, she is a graduate of Florence High School where she was inducted into the International Thespian Society and was involved in various activities, including co-captain of the Falconettes Dance Team. She studied broadcast journalism at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and has a master’s degree in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University (AU). While studying at VCU, Duster was president of the Association of Black Communicators Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and a representative on VCU’s Mass Communications Student Advisory Board. As a graduate student at AU, she covered the 2014 Virginia Senate Race, contributing to live coverage for Beltway Ballots and 103.5 WTOP-FM. She was also a teacher assistant and resident assistant for the POLITICO Journalism Institute and a graduate assistant for AU’s Boot Camp for Journalists.
Duster started her career while still an undergraduate student with a radio internship at Shoals Radio Group in Florence, Alabama. She was also an intern for Radio One in Richmond, Virginia for iPower 92.1, working with nationally syndicated shows such as The Michael Baisden Show on 99.3/105.7 KISS. She worked for Cox Media Group in Richmond, Virginia for HOT 100.9 and 103.7 River (now owned by SummitMedia) working in promotions, hosting events, and voicing commercials. She joined Studio Center Total Production as a voice-over artist and has voiced national projects for universities, recording artists, media companies, and others.
After graduate school, she joined NBC News and MSNBC as a Desk Assistant in the Washington, D.C. headquarters. As a Desk Assistant, she managed the overnight assignment desk and was weekend White House Producer in which she traveled with former President Barack Obama. She also produced for NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt and shows on MSNBC, including “Andrea Mitchell Reports” and “Morning Joe.” She rose the ranks, becoming an Associate Producer, then a Reporter for the two networks where she wrote and produced for on-air as well as digital. She wrote stories for TODAY.com and various NBC News platforms. She is also a former editor of NBCBLK, one of the largest verticals for NBC News that focuses on the black community.
In 2018, Duster received a Salute to Excellence Award from NABJ as an editor of a two-part news feature on Jamaica’s ‘Barrel Children.’ She was also nominated for a 2018 Salute to Excellence Award for editing a news story on Kenyan entrepreneurs in Africa’s emerging ‘Silicon Valley.’
Duster is also an endometriosis survivor and has been at the forefront of national awareness of the disease. She is the immediate Past President of the Virginia chapter for the Worldwide EndoMarch organization, a volunteer with the Endometriosis Foundation of America, and co-founder of Virginia HOPE, a support group for women with endometriosis.
She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and NABJ.