Kamille Whittaker (MFA ’21), the managing editor of Atlanta Magazine and co-founder of the award-winning, community-led journalism project Canopy Atlanta, is the 2023 Industry Fellow with the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership at the University of Georgia.
Whittaker will spend her time as Industry Fellow interacting with UGA student journalists through classroom lectures and the Cox Institute’s extracurricular programs. She also delivered the keynote address at the Cox Institute’s Spring Leadership Dinner on March 2.
“UGA students have never disappointed when it comes to how they show up in the world, and that’s just a testament to the great training at Grady as it is right now, so it can only get better,” Whittaker said. “I’m just excited to be able to add to that polish.”
Keith Herndon, executive director of the Cox Institute, said students are excited for the opportunity to work with Whittaker.
“Our students love it when working professionals invest some of their time to be part of our programs,” Herndon said. “We’re thrilled to have Kamille Whittaker as our Industry Fellow this year and we welcome the enthusiasm she is bringing to this role. It’s great to have her back on campus working with our students.”
Whittaker graduated from the Grady College of Journalism Mass Communication’s M.F.A. program in Narrative Nonfiction in 2021. She graduated from Howard University, where she studied political science and journalism, in 2005.
At Atlanta Magazine, Whittaker leads production of the monthly print issues and edits the magazine’s arts and culture coverage.
Whittaker is also the training director for Canopy Atlanta, where she teaches Atlanta residents what she described as “Journalism 101” — interviewing, writing, fact-checking and media ethics. This training equips residents to write stories about their communities and the issues they’re facing. Additionally, Whittaker has worked with students at Mercer University since spring 2021 as an instructor for the school’s online writing lab.
“I just think it’s important to constantly be putting back into the pipeline, and investing time and energy and resources, especially with the changing industry,” Whittaker said.
As a journalist who has experienced the news media’s shift from print to digital, Whittaker is eager to mentor students during a time she considers to be another pivotal juncture in the industry. Now is the time for journalists to find new ways to serve the communities they cover, she said.
“It’s a critical time for journalism,” Whittaker said. “It is a public good now more than ever, and I’m just hopeful that students . . . recognize that moment and just dive right into it.”
Whittaker’s journalism career has roots in the Black Press — one of her earliest industry roles was interning for Black Voice News in her hometown of Riverside, California. She later worked as a national correspondent for the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). She has carried her dedication to the Black Press throughout her career.
“The historic Black Press is the voice for the voiceless — they often reported on things that mainstream media just did not report,” Whittaker said. “[Black newspapers have] just such a significant presence, and that’s why I will always stay connected to that.”
Whittaker has also held positions with Heldref Publications (now Taylor & Francis), The Washington Post in conjunction with Newsweek (formerly WPNI) and The Liberator Magazine. She worked for the Atlanta Tribune magazine for 12 years before joining Atlanta Magazine in January 2021.
Previous Cox Institute Industry Fellows were Ken Foskett, former investigative reporter and editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Richard Griffiths, former vice president at CNN; Marilyn Geewax, former senior editor with NPR; Amy Glennon, former publisher with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; and Nick Chiles, a Pulitzer-prize winning reporter and best-selling author.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership website. It has been edited lightly for republication.