Kyra Kyles (BSJ98, MSJ98), a senior editor at JET Magazine, has been involved in television, magazine, newspaper and online publishing. Last Thursday, she gave students her tips and tricks for becoming a successful multifaceted journalist as part of the Gertrude and G.D. Crain Jr. Lecture Series. The event was co-sponored by the Medill chapter of the National Association for Black Journalists (NABJ).
Kyles discussed being able to take on a variety of responsibilities at her first job as a reporter in Danville, Ill.
“Because Northwestern had prepared me to work on my own and be a one-man band – shooting, writing, editing, everything that you need to do – there was no problem,” Kyles said.
Kyles, who is also a former reporter for the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication, encouraged students to challenge themselves in order to become more valuable to employers. She also stressed how important building a personal brand is, be it with a personal website or with a social media presence, or both.
“It’s important to get out there so that people know what you’re capable of,” said Kyles, who recently added film producer to resume. She and her sister, filmmaker Kozi Kyles, recently created the web series Human Resources, an office comedy with a science fiction angle.
Kyles also discussed her beliefs about the role of journalists.
“You have a responsibility as a journalist of any sort, of any skin shade, to make sure things that are under the radar come to the forefront,” Kyles said. “It’s your job to look for those stories that are untold and tell them.”
The event attracted a number of Medill students as well as a group of NABJ student members from the University of Missouri.
“Kyra Kyles is definitely the epitome of a do-it-all journalist,” said Medill NABJ co-president and senior Eryn Rogers, who organized the event with co-president and Medill senior Dallas Wright. “If I took one thing away from her speech it was to always think outside of the box for an innovative way to advance your career, and to not be afraid of taking risks.”
Watch the video of Kyles' lecture here.