Profiles of Tenacity: Charles Burney

Burney headshot
Charles Burney's passion for journalism emerged when he was young, and this drive has pushed him toward the success he's found in the college.

Profiles of Tenacity: Charles Burney

February 08, 2024

Charles Burney recently graduated from Grady College with a Bachelor’s in journalism and is currently pursuing a Master’s in the same field. He’s driven to excel with a determination to set a legacy behind him.

Why did you choose your major?

In high school, I was an on-camera anchor for a year for The Husky Howler. My AP Lang teacher and faculty advisor told me I had a future in this (she was a UGA alumna herself and was my UGA application recommender). I grew up in Middle Georgia and fell in love with GA sports in 2012. Both the UGA Bulldogs football program and the Atlanta Falcons made it to their conference championship games, and the Hawks had a fantastic season as well.

During this same year, I met a friend in middle school who now works for the NBA part-time. Together, we got into the analytical side of sports by keeping up with stats for our middle school team. We also rooted for similar teams nationally, such as the Seattle Seahawks in both of their 2014-2015 Super Bowls. We both rooted for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals to win their first tile, for instance. Well, he and I both attended two Digital Media Summer Camps at Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism. He pitched for me to do it in my junior year summer after he did it before 10th grade, and I fell in love.

With all this being said, I have known since 2014 that UGA was my dream school. It all came together senior year. After being recommended to apply, taking Dr. Finlay’s Sports, Media and Society class and being accepted into the program that same COVID-19 fall semester felt like clairvoyance was affirmed as far as knowing my major at UGA.

Burney gained hands-on experience through his undergraduate degree in filming, interviewing and producing news stories.

What does tenacity mean to you?

Tenacity signifies a steadfast determination and persistence in the face of challenges or obstacles. It demonstrates conflict management. It involves the ability to stay committed to one’s goals, even when confronted with difficulties or setbacks. A person with tenacity demonstrates resilience, perseverance and a refusal to give up easily. It’s about holding onto one’s purpose or vision, despite the inevitable hurdles that may arise along the way. My journey through UGA included intimidation and a lack of confidence many times. But it is facing your comfort zone, stepping out of it, and focusing on controlling the controllables that allow me to wake up for the day and strive for success.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to other Grady students?

My advice is to be careful who you listen to and that you should become a better version of yourself. Comparison is the thief of joy. Outside of that cliche, this college is a community that can truly make the 40,000+ student community feel smaller. You can have one-on-ones with Dean Davis or your department chair. You could connect with all your Gradymates. Always remember your network, and keep an open mind about it. Enjoy your own successes, and keep going!

What motivates you?

Burney conducting an interview at the Tate Center.

My family legacy and future self motivate me a lot. As a first-generation student of color who is the first in a family line to take physical in-person graduate classes, I want to be more than just a journalist/creator/entertainer/entrepreneur checking boxes. I want to be the knowledgeable head of the household who is a scholar of the world.

Editor: Morgan Jones |