#ProfilesOfTenacity: DonA Traylor-Askew

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

I chose to study journalism because I developed a love for storytelling while in grade school. I love talking to people and getting to know more about what makes them who they are. I also love sports and how they bring people together. The idea that I could combine the two and pursue a career in sports journalism seemed like a dream. I knew Grady had a great program and reputation for successful journalists. In addition, I knew the Sports Media Certificate program would help me to best position myself for a fulfilling career.

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

Tenacity means pushing through whatever comes your way and never giving up. It means setting your mind on a goal and doing whatever it takes to reach it no matter what situations arise in life that could stand in your way. Simply put, it means unrivaled determination.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

In my Fall 2021 sports broadcast class, I was the producer of our last show of the year. When I first learned I would have that task, I was so nervous. It was my job to get everyonethe anchor, analysts, feature reporter, and graphics producer, etc.all on the same page. It was the first time I had ever produced a show, but I created a new structure for the show. My classmates and I came together and pulled it off with my new plans being implemented almost seamlessly. I was very proud of myself and although I had never considered pursuing a position as a producer, this experience changed me. Now I really feel like I could do this in a professional setting.

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

The sports media program has had the biggest impact of my life during my time at UGA. I arrived here hoping to begin building a foundation for a career in sports media, but it was really just an idea. It has only been through the experiences in this program that I have truly started to realize that I can be successful in the field. Each class and the challenges I’ve faced in them have allowed me to learn new skills that will not only be applicable in the workplace but could also give me an edge over my competition early on when starting in the industry.

Traylor interviewing a trainer on Dooley Field
Traylor-Askew interviews University of Kentucky Football strength and conditioning coach Rafael Horton.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?

I have two great pieces of advice from Professor Vicki Michaelis that I try to keep in mind with all that I do professionally. The first is “Don’t let perfection get in the way of done.” This advice has helped me to stay out of my own way when it comes to being a perfectionist. Instead of trying to find some cute way to dress up a graphic or some fun phrase to add to a sideline hit, it’s always best at the end of the day to deliver the truth of the information in a clear and concise format, and to worry about the additives later. And the second is “If you know what you don’t know, you’ll be fine.” As long as I remain aware of the areas where I can improve, I will always be working to better myself and therefore better position myself for the future.

What are you planning to do after graduation?

I hope to begin working in social media production for an NFL or NBA team in Los Angeles, Phoenix or Atlanta. I could also see myself working in sports broadcasting in some form, either as an anchor or producer.

What is your favorite app or social media channel and why?
Traylor on the Newsource set
Traylor-Askew is an active volunteer and manager for Grady Newsource.

TikTok. It is such an informal platform that even professional TikTok accounts are able to create a silly atmosphere for consumers. When NFL and NBA teams can use this form of media to make jokes about one another and it’s not only acceptable, but to be expected, I think it is great.

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

My favorite place on campus is Sanford Stadium. I have been able to make so many great memories there with the new friends that I’ve made during my time at UGA. The atmosphere is phenomenal. And as a major sports fan, I didn’t miss a home game all year and I don’t plan to miss one next year either.

Who is your professional hero?

I would consider Maria Taylor to be a professional hero of mine. She also attended Grady and is having a very successful career in sports broadcasting. She is one of the younger successful Black sports broadcasters that I feel has recently blazed a trail for women like me who could follow in her footsteps before creating my own path.

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

I was part of a small team of student reporters who worked to create “The First Five,” a documentary about the five black men who integrated the UGA football team in 1971. I didn’t realize how much work would go into the project when we first started, and I had some self doubt in the beginning because I’d never done anything like it before. However, I worked hard to give each subject a true voice when I finished my portion of the piece and when I saw what it added to the overall story, it was one of the proudest moments of my life.


“The First Five” 50th Anniversary documentary produced by Grady Newsource premieres

Fifty years ago, in the fall of 1971, five football players joined the Georgia Bulldogs football team and became the first Black scholarship football players in school history. Richard Appleby, Chuck Kinnebrew, Horace King, Clarence Pope, Larry West and all they collectively represented are the subjects of a new documentary produced by Grady Newsource.

“The First Five” is now available to watch on Grady College’s YouTube channel.

The production is a result of months of work from students, faculty and staff. Grady Newsource director Dodie Cantrell supervised the project. 

“The students who chose to work on this historic project understood and honored the fact that the work they were producing was a once in a lifetime opportunity to memorialize a watershed moment in American history through the lens of UGA football and the Civil Rights Movement,” said Cantrell. 

Executive producer Molly English (AB ’21) on the far left and Lorna Ramage, producer, on the far right pose with “The First Five” at the documentary premiere (Photo: Sarah Freeman).

Carmical Sports Media Institute student Tylar Norman (AB ‘21) anchored the program and students Jack Sadighian, DonA Traylor, Willie Daniely (AB ‘21), Jessica Green, Southern Britt (AB ‘21) and Jayla Johnson (AB ‘21) reported for the documentary. Molly English (AB ‘21) served as executive producer and Lorna Ramage was the producer.

“In addition to all of the technical skills and journalism tips I learned, I also learned most to sit and listen,” English said. “There were five major stories that we had the responsibility of telling and of telling right. Sitting and listening to those stories, from both the First Five and those they inspired, allowed our team to be able to tell this story fully.”

The students relied heavily on Faculty members Vicki Michaelis, Mark Johnson, Amanda Bright and Valerie Boyd —their “Content Coaches”—who worked with individual students to help them advance the skills they learned at Grady to tell this compelling story honoring the lives of those who lived it. 

“The First Five” is the latest documentary produced by Grady students celebrating the pioneers and trailblazers who helped make UGA a more inclusive campus. Earlier in 2021, Grady Newsource produced “UGA’s 60th Anniversary of Desegregation” special. There are plans for more documentaries in the near future.

The documentary is part of a campus-wide celebration. Included in the celebration will be a pregame recognition of the five trailblazers on Dooley Field, including the unveiling of a monument in Reed Plaza next to Sanford Stadium to mark the milestone event of the integration of the football program.

Tylar Norman (AB ’21) chats with “The First Five” at the premiere of the documentary on Friday, September 17 (Photo: Sarah Freeman).

“I am so thrilled to welcome The Five back to campus and honor the 50th anniversary of this milestone for Georgia Athletics and the University of Georgia as a whole,” J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Josh Brooks said. “Coach Dooley, with his foresight to facilitate this pivotal change, and The Five’s courage, strength and perseverance, changed the course of athletics at UGA in the most positive way imaginable. I am so proud to celebrate their impact this year.”

You can read more about the First Five in this release from UGA Athletics.

For more information on The Five and the integration of UGA athletics overall, you can visit a new exhibit on display at the Russell Building Special Collections Libraries called Not Only for Ourselves: The Integration of UGA Athletics. Parts of the exhibit are also available online: https://gado.gs/7j8.

You can also check out this web extra feature where Norman of Grady Newsource, hosts a roundtable discussion about the 1971 integration of the UGA football team. Guests include:
• Josh Brooks, J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics
• Courtney Gay, UGA Asst. Athletic Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
• Kirby Smart, UGA Head Football Coach
• Ben Watson, Former UGA football player 2001-2003