Grady InternViews: Dania Kalaji

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.

Briefly describe your internship and your responsibilities. 

I am a Dow Jones News Fund intern. I’m in a cohort of around 150 other Dow Jones news interns who are placed in specific newsrooms around the country. These newsrooms have a contract affiliation with the Dow Jones News Fund so that they can better equip younger journalists. The one I’m with is called Bay City News Foundation. It is based in Oakland, California, but I’m living in San Francisco. It’s a newswire and a nonprofit that covers the entire Bay Area.

My internship is really flexible, so some days of the week, I’ll be writing daily news stories that are cast out on its newswire to around 8 million audience viewers. On the other hand, I’m also working on bigger capstone stories. Although my position is listed as a copy editor, they’re giving me the ability to also write stories – which is really great for me, because that’s my forte. I’m doing a mix of writing, copy editing and social media.

student on computer
Dania attended training at the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas before moving to the Bay Area for her internship this summer. (Photo:Bradley Wilson)
What has been your favorite part about your internship so far?

My favorite part about my internship so far would definitely be the 10 day training at the University of Texas. For those 10 days, it was long hours and pretty rigorous training, but it really taught me how important it is to be a well-rounded journalist. It doesn’t just take writing, telling a story and giving people voices that we seldom hear – it’s also about the nitty gritty stuff. By that, I mean headlines, SEO and framing your stories in particular ways on social media or in newspapers as well.

I was in a cohort with about 15 other Dow Jones news fund interns and that was the best part of it, being able to make new friends that are at my exact same level in journalism and my age. It was great to connect with them, and connect with the professors that were leading the program and to hear from different panelists from, for example, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post – it was really such a well-rounded experience.

What about this role has surprised you?

I think what’s most surprising is the trust that they’ve placed in me as an intern. I think that it’s really important when they place trust in you, because it allows you to grow and to see where your interests lie. I’m really interested in arts and entertainment, as well as critical writing. I think having that time to experiment is very important. Having these resources around you, all the professional journalists who’ve been in the industry for so long, they want to give you the guidance and the training. I think that is surprising to a lot of interns, especially myself, is that people really do want to help you and see you thrive. That’s why they gave you this position.

Dania will serve as the digital managing editor for The Red and Black this fall. She’s glad to have found a student-run publication that feels like home, where she’s grown as a journalist. (Photo:submitted)

Given that trust, I’m able to cover bigger stories. I’m working on this huge story on the Bay Area about gentrification and how it’s affecting artists of color. The trust they’ve placed in me is what gives me that confidence to reach out to what I call “sharks”, those are the sources that are really hard to seek and are sometimes impossible to reach. But because your mentors give you that competence, you never know what could happen. So, because I was able to reach out to this person, with the confidence and the trust they’ve given me, I now have this really big interview, and I wouldn’t have had that if they didn’t push me to do so.

How will this internship guide you in your future career path?

Coming into college, I felt really lucky knowing that journalism is what I wanted to do, and choosing UGA wasn’t hard because I knew Grady had such an incredible program that sets you up perfectly for all these careers. I got my current internship because I did an internship last summer with Pensacola News Journal, which is my hometown paper. It’s part of Gannett, which is the USA Today network. I was able to get that internship because my professors and mentors at Grady, who were the ones that pushed me to do so. They gave me that competence to do it, because I knew I could, but I just needed to hear it from other people who I trust and look up to as models. After getting that internship, that’s when I was able to open my network in the journalism world. Now, I feel that I’m in a good place to explore the many options of journalism. Since I’ve been at The Red and Black (this will be my third year now), I’ve moved my way up in the ranks. I started as a contributor on the news desk, and then I was the outreach manager, and then I was the diversity, equity and inclusion chair for a year. Coming into the fall, I’ll be the digital managing editor. It’s really cool to be able to immerse yourself in everything that Grady and UGA has to offer, because that’s what’s going to ultimately lead me into my next role.

Dania’s view from the press box at the Chase Center, where she covered the NBA finals game for the Golden State Warriors. (Photo:submitted)

This internship is teaching me about different aspects of journalism, so that I can figure out exactly what I want to do later down the road. Given all of these opportunities, I’m really interested in the arts and entertainment world of journalism. I think the landscape of being a critic and writing film reviews is really exciting. What also excites me is breaking news and enterprise stories that are focused on diverse communities, and the people that we don’t really get to hear from a lot. When you look at my work, that’s what my stories are mostly focused on. I think as a young journalist, being able to navigate through all these internships and through all the different opportunities that you’re given is such a blessing because you get to experience all aspects of journalism.

How have your experiences at Grady prepared you for this internship?

I’ve started speaking at a lot of journalism classes, especially the journalism seminar that Dean Davis leads. Every time I’m asked to speak in those seminars, I always start with this, and it’s that if I hadn’t joined The Red and Black, I would not be where I am right now. I say that with full confidence. Without The Red and Black, I wouldn’t be half the journalist I am today. It’s so easy to start somewhere there, and then so quickly get sucked in and go up the ranks. All of a sudden, you’re the digital managing editor, and it’s because you love it so much. It’s just an overall well-rounded experience. Through The Red and Black, I’ve been able to work alongside people, not only in my journalism cohort, but people of different ages. It’s cool to communicate with everyone and build those relationships, because it shows you how important it is to keep those people close to you, because we’re all going through the same thing. The Red and Black is like my home – I’m really lucky to have found a student-run publication that’s made me feel so comfortable, and that I can grow in any aspect that I want to.

As a multiplatform editing intern, Dania is writing stories for the Bay City News Foundation. She recently wrote a story on the Golden State Warriors victory at the NBA finals in San Francisco on June 16. (Photo:submitted)

I really think that the professors at Grady are so well-equipped for the world beyond college, and they really prepare you for that. Out of all the classes that I’ve taken, two classes I took in the past semester have especially prepared me for this internship. One of them was feature writing with Nick Chiles. I’ve never been challenged that much in a course before, and it’s because he really pushed us to be the best journalism students we could be. Especially in feature writing, I learned how to display human emotion through stories – and it’s really hard. You don’t really know how hard it is until you’re actually sitting there with a blank Google doc, and you’re like how do I even start…how do I convey a human emotion through this hour long interview that I just had? Also, I took a multiplatform story production with Charlotte Norsworthy. She’s so incredible – she was also my newsroom advisor at The Red and Black, and part of the reason why I’m in this internship today is because she’s just so stellar. I learned so much about not just writing a story, but how to equip it with good visuals, audio, video and social media – all the things you need in today’s day and age in any journalism role. Those two classes really showed me how important it is to put care into my journalism classes as much as I put care into working at The Red and Black. At the end of the day, those professors are going to be vouching for you, and they will remember you.

Dania (back row, third from left) pictured with other Dow Jones interns at the University of Texas. (Photo:Bradley Wilson)

#ProfilesOfTenacity: William Newlin

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

I began my college career as an International Affairs major in SPIA. History, English, political science and economics had always been my favorite subjects, and IA seemed to bring it all together. But as an avid news consumer with a penchant for writing, I realized there was more I wanted to do. Grady allowed me to join a field with colleagues who have goals beyond themselves. I knew it would give me the leeway to find my passion and the opportunity to write with purpose.

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

To me, tenacity is a willingness to leave your comfort zone to get what you need, whether in your personal life or professional pursuits. In journalism, it’s not backing down in the face of authority. It’s being dogged, nosy and courageous. In life, it’s sticking to your values and reaching for your goals no matter the obstacles. 

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about improving public debate through good journalism. I think the best reporting keeps important issues centered in our collective consciousness and directs attention to topics that might otherwise fall through the cracks. We need to have more fact-based debate in all aspects of American life, and I’m excited to contribute to that throughout my career.

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

The Red & Black. After joining in fall 2019, I immediately found a group of people who both supported me and created the environment of healthy competition that shaped me as a reporter. Over two years of reporting and editing from contributor all the way to managing editor, I honed my writing, fact-finding and storytelling skills. It was the real-world experience I needed to feel confident in my abilities as a professional journalist and leader.

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

In March, I presented original research at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Midwinter Conference. The idea originated in a research theory class the previous fall, and I developed my topic and method alongside Dr. Karin Assmann. Focused on the rhetoric of Fox News’ Sean Hannity, I found the data needed for the project, learned to use a new analysis software and wrote a lengthy paper that was accepted by the AEJMC. Despite taking the non-thesis route in my graduate program, I’m excited to leave with a tangible piece of scholarship. My goal is to submit the finished article for publication in a political communication journal.  

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?

Find something interesting in every assignment. Even if you’re covering what seems like the driest beat in the world, there are always people, trends and storylines to keep you and your audience engaged. 

Who is your professional hero?

A few people come to mind. As exemplars of my first journalistic passion – sports writing (specifically baseball) – Tony Kornheiser and Jeff Passan are at the top. Their reporting chops and undeniable style continue to inform my approach to writing. I also greatly admire CNN’s Clarissa Ward and NBC’s Richard Engel. They’re in the most important places at the most important times, and I hope to emulate their unflinching courage to whatever extent I can. And if I had to throw in a historical hero, it would have to be Edward R. Murrow. Aside from the obvious reasons, who doesn’t want a catchphrase?

What are you planning to do after obtaining your degree?

I plan to hit the ground running as a reporter. With experience in sports, news and features, I’m excited to get started and adapt to new challenges.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

It might surprise people that I make music – sort of. I play the drums, can strum a guitar, and I’m oddly decent at composing piano music, which I’ve translated into a few songs. Some are on SoundCloud, and some are just for me. 

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

The Founders Memorial Garden on North Campus is and always will be my favorite spot. It was my between-classes refuge freshman year and continues to be a peaceful place when I need some quiet time in nature. 

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Sherry Liang

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

The only class I enjoyed in high school was newspaper, so I came into college as an intended-journalism major. I joined The Red & Black within my first month and became an editor the following semester. But I already felt stagnant, which is not a feeling you want as a freshman, so I sought a creative outlet with EMST. I wish I could reassure freshman me that both journalism and EMST would welcome (and continue to welcome) me with open arms — that pursuing both paths would change my life — but I think she already knew.

What are you passionate about?

A lot, sometimes too much. I’m passionate about independent student journalism and innovating the newsroom’s status quo. I’m passionate about people and our emotions — the way we interact and react — and finding the universal in the personal. The entertainment and journalism I grew up with rarely told the stories of my community. I never saw myself in the media industry, so I hope I can play my part in changing that for future generations.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

I hope I’ll remember the everyday moments like mingling with friends between classes, group exercises in cinematography, staying up until 2 a.m. finishing a script, sheltering from a tornado in one of the many windowless first floor classrooms, busting a kneecap open after class (unrelated to the tornado), table reads in Writers’ Room or watching film premieres at Ciné and University 16 … the list goes on. 

I also think back to when we planted seeds for ideas that would shape my college experience — like brainstorming web series concepts in Writers’ Room, pitching an AAJA chapter at UGA to Dr. Lough, the first conversations about the Backlight Student Film Festival, or the beginnings of what would become The Red & Black’s DEI Committee.

Liang served as the editor-in-chief of The Red & Black in spring 2021 (Photo: Taylor Gerlach).
What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

The students, by all means. From day one, I’ve been inspired by everyone’s dedication to each other’s work at The Red & Black, The Industry, in classrooms and on the screen. Members of Writers’ Room, for example, have exceeded every conceivable expectation of mine when I restructured the club. From first-time screenwriters to EMST veterans, everyone’s bonded over these characters and scripts that we’ve created. I’m also beyond impressed by students on the Selection Committee for the Backlight Student Film Festival, who have spent nearly 10 hours across three weeks watching and judging film submissions. This level of commitment and collaboration is a trademark of the students at this college.

As I round out my senior year, I feel like I’ve finally found my place with my people. Graduating and leaving UGA feels bittersweet and pre-nostalgic, but I am mostly relieved that given the volatility of the universe and its infinite possibilities, we all found ourselves here, together, if only for a moment. (Existential thoughts courtesy of Everything, Everywhere All at Once.)

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

Directing my first short film this semester was one of the most surreal moments of my college career. I’ve written a few scripts, so that part of the process was familiar. But as I watched actors bring the characters I created to life, heard people laugh at these jokes I wrote from my bed at 3 a.m., and witnessed an entire crew devote their many precious hours to execute my story — I felt a type of unbridled joy and gratitude that I had never experienced in a collaborative environment. I’ll chase that feeling and those people for as long as I create. 

(Bonus full-circle moment: The film is about student journalism!)

What are you planning to do after graduation?

Lots of soul-searching, a bit of traveling, and hopefully some revelatory experiences — but first, the Cannes Film Festival.

A behind the scenes look at Liang’s short film directorial debut (Photo: Jaida Green).
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?

Coming in as a beginner, I was intimidated by EMST before even setting foot in a classroom. But over the last two years, I’ve never had a professor who expected us to know everything. Professor Evans taught my first screenwriting class, and from day one, he emphasized improvement above all else. Your work doesn’t have to be perfect, it might never be, but you just have to do and improve. I’ve always had some level of performance anxiety, and reminding myself of that philosophy has been liberating. As a chronic procrastinating perfectionist, it’s what motivated me 24 hours before the deadline to write my first TV pilot that became a BEA Festival finalist. It wasn’t a perfect script — one judge’s comments made that very clear — but that’s one script (and an award) more than I had before I started. 

Who is your professional hero?

I have so many. UGA alumnae Kendall Trammell, Elaine Reyes, Samira Jafari, Alex Laughlin and Amanda Mull are just a handful of the journalists who inspire me. Editors at CNN and The Red & Black have shaped my confidence and voice as a journalist. The writer-director in me also looks up to the power-duo of Lulu Wang and Barry Jenkins (who share a dog-child with a hyphenated last name — talk about life goals). 

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I talk to myself a lot, entire conversations. Sometimes I’ll mute my podcast in the car just to hear myself talk … to myself. Most of these answers came from me talking to myself. 

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

My body is actually solar-powered. Give me some sun, a few trees, maybe a sprinkling of fall foliage or spring flowers, and I’m there. I frequent Herty Field or the MLC stone benches for napping, and outside the PAF for a solid four-legged table to do some work. You can also find me gazing off into the sunset at Lake Herrick to inspire an aforementioned revelatory experience … been doing a lot of that lately.



#ProfilesOfTenacity: Kacie Geter

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

I chose Grady because since I was young, I always wanted to be a broadcast reporter or television personality. Grady has one of the best journalism programs in the country and to be in the same program that alums like Ryan Seacrest and Bonnie Arnold were in assures me that there is no limit for success I want to reach in the industry.

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

Tenacity means betting on yourself. I am a believer in the privilege of luck, connections, and access, but it also comes down to how determined you are to get to where you want to be. Tenacity means to me that no matter the odds, you give it your all. 

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

My college friends. I had no high school peers that were coming to UGA and I had to make entirely new relationships. I am grateful to have connected with the friends I have now because we have similar aspirations and mindsets, and they’re just really good people to surround myself with. 

Geter is an intern for NBCUniversal.
What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

My proudest moment in the past year was being accepted to intern at NBCUniversal’s E! News for this current spring semester. I am blessed and extremely grateful to have the opportunity to work for such an amazing company while only being a sophomore and recently Grady accepted. Having this opportunity has equipped me with knowledge to believe any door will open for you as long as you work hard and ask for it. 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?

People are going to judge and have opinions about you anyway, so do as you please. I am the creator of my future and therefore I control my outcome and anyone that disagrees does not matter. I stick by this advice that my mentor gave me habitually.

Who is your professional hero?

I don’t really have a professional hero, but I love seeing Black women paving the way for us, such as Issa Rae, Oprah Winfrey, Shonda Rhimes and Rihanna.

Geter also works at The Red & Black as a social media coordinator.
What are you planning to do after graduation?

Honestly, I am not sure, and that’s okay. I know I want to work in the film/television industry and possibly be a TV personality or work on the business side of the media industry. Whatever opportunities come my way that nurture me and bring me closer to what I love, I’m taking.

What is your favorite app or social media channel and why?

My favorite app is Pinterest. I like how you can just see random photos catered to your interests without the opinions or judgment of others. Pinterest is a very inspiring platform; who doesn’t love to be inspired?

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I love reading people and knowing their opinions. I habitually go on Reddit and just read people’s opinions about random topics. I want to know others’ mindset and their thinking processes behind everyday ideas.

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

My favorite place on campus would have to be Lake Herrick. Especially in the fall when the leaves are turning different colors, the wind is crisp and the sun is shining bright. It brings me to a Zen state of mind and makes me feel as though I am one with nature when I sit and mindlessly stare at the lake. It brings me peace, and as a college student that’s sometimes hard to come by.



#ProfilesOfTenacity: Jacqueline GaNun

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

I had been contemplating the idea of pursuing journalism since junior year of high school because I loved writing and talking to people, and especially loved the idea of informing people of what is going on in the world. I visited UGA when I was in high school and picked up a copy of The Red & Black, and from then on, I was hooked. I joined The Red & Black as soon as I arrived in Athens and realized how fulfilling and interesting journalism was. I want to tell stories that matter, and Grady has the classes and extracurricular opportunities to help me do that.

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

To me, tenacity means pursuing your goals relentlessly and not giving up when you run into obstacles or self-doubt. 

What are you passionate about?

Traveling and education are two of my biggest passions. I feel that traveling is itself a form of education. There are things that you just can’t learn in a classroom. Lifelong learning is incredibly important to me and is also crucial for people to make well-informed decisions that will positively impact their lives. These passions are both intertwined with my career goal of being a reporter who gets to travel — I hope to both educate myself about people’s stories and to educate others so that they can make positive decisions. 

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

This answer is easy — The Red & Black has impacted the entire trajectory of my life. Joining the first semester of my freshman year made it possible for me to realize the passion I have for storytelling and journalism. The numerous mentors that have taught me and helped me at R&B have also hugely impacted me both personally and professionally. 

GaNun is currently studying abroad at the University of Oxford.
What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

Some of my work was published in The New York Times in March 2021, an experience that still feels surreal. One of the national desk editors emailed about needing a stringer to cover a shooting that happened in Atlanta, and I drove there to help cover the aftermath. I am proud of myself for saying “yes” to the offer despite anxiety that I felt and of the hours I spent traveling and interviewing people. It was truly an incredible experience that I was very lucky to have had.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?

My mom is one of my biggest role models for many reasons, but one of the most impactful is how she approaches life through a lens of constant learning. She taught me that nobody knows everything and that I should always strive to learn new things about people and the world.

Who is your professional hero?

I look up to many figures in the media, but foreign correspondents who put their life on the line to tell stories from the front line are my personal heroes. I just read an autobiography by Clarissa Ward about her journey to become a conflict journalist and found it incredibly inspiring and enlightening. She tells stories about tenacity, both from her and from the people she has met around the world.

What is your favorite app or social media channel and why?

Twitter is my favorite app (as many journalists would say). I love being exposed to different viewpoints from people and following reporters that I admire to learn more about them and their reporting process.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I lived in Okinawa, off the coast of Japan, on a military base when I was younger.

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

North Campus is amazing because it’s so peaceful and beautiful. I love walking on the paths or sitting in the sun with a drink from Starbucks or Bubble Café.

 

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Henry Queen

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study? 

The Grady Sports Media program initially attracted me to UGA. Growing up an Auburn fan, I might not have given UGA a second thought without it. I remember going on a tour with assistant director Carlo Finlay and being blown away. He recommended I join The Red & Black my freshman year, and the rest is history.   

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you? 

Keeping sane during the last year is tenacious in and of itself. We’ve endured a lot, but that doesn’t mean we should ever let go of hope, gratitude and empathy. To me, tenacity means holding onto those qualities even when it’s most difficult. 

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I’m a childhood cancer survivor!

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about learning new things and restoring shared narratives within our local communities. I want to tell stories that unite more than divide. Sports are an incredible opportunity for that. They’ve been a lifelong passion of mine, but for reasons that have changed. As a kid, I memorized baseball statistics and idolized the game’s best players. Now I see sports (along with music) as one of the best ways for people to connect with strangers. It’s rare for that many people to gather as one, especially in our sprawling, car-dependent cities. Coming out of the pandemic, I expect people to be hungry for that connection.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

Getting sick on the way to Super Bowl Media Day. I’m prone to motion sickness, and the ride to Atlanta with my classmates wasn’t fun. But I ended up doing the interviews, making photos and writing two stories in time for that afternoon’s deadline.

What is your favorite app or social media channel?

Twitter, but only because I can curate my own feed. That power scares me. 

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

When two people independently took my Twitter recommendation and ate at Groove Burgers on the same day. I’m always happy to spread the good word.

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

My friends. Aside from the great times and personal memories we’ve shared, they’ve also meant a ton to me professionally. My storytelling skills were drastically improved by interacting with people outside the journalism bubble.      

Queen interviewed football players as a part of the Super Bowl LIII Media Day. (Photo courtesy of Henry Queen).
Who is your professional hero?

I have so many. Some of my favorite sports journalists include Mirin Fader, Wright Thompson, Howard Bryant and Joe Posnanski. My favorite magazine journalists are Ed Yong, Tom Junod and Chris Jones, although he is now a screenwriter. But that brings up a good point: I admire storytellers of all mediums. I take inspiration from filmmakers, podcasters, YouTubers and songwriters. There is so much good stuff out there.  

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?

My mom told me recently that nothing is permanent. I think that’s an important lesson from the pandemic and something to keep in mind going forward. Savor everything you have while you have it.  

Where is your favorite place on campus?

I’m going to be cliché and say North Campus. It’s so beautiful, especially this time of year. 

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Kyra Posey

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor/mentor/family member?

In my capstone course in the fall of 2020, Professor Dodie Cantrell-Bickley told us to try our hand at multiple platforms in order to tell our stories — video, audio, data journalism, etc. She said that we should try these even if we had never before because, as she said, “the weakest muscles need to be exercised.” She repeated this a few times in the semester, and it’s something that really encouraged me to try new ways to tell stories. In my career after graduation, I think I’ll always remember that it’s okay to try new things, even if it’s scary!

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

I knew that I wanted to be in the field of journalism when I entered college, and I knew that Grady’s program had produced many success stories. I was inspired by my upperclassmen friends who said the professors at Grady were some of the best they had ever had, and I could tell I would have an incredible support system here. It turns out that they were right — my faculty mentors have come from the school, and I’ve been able to hone in on my journalistic skills under their advice and leadership.

What is your favorite app or social media channel?

My favorite app is definitely TikTok. So many incredible stories can be told on that platform, and it’s so addicting.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

My most memorable Grady experience was studying abroad at Trinity College in Oxford, England. Ivanka Pjesivac was our professor teaching international communications, and while we were there, we were able to visit London’s CNN Bureau and the Reuter’s Institute in Oxford. Learning about international communications and speaking with some of the best in professional communications was an incredible hands-on learning experience, and it really opened my eyes to the global news flow. Professor Pjesivac really prioritized telling us about global communications across multiple fields (advertising, entertainment, journalism and more), and I’m not sure if I ever would have chosen a course like that unless I had studied abroad. Plus, I made some of my closest friends there.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I only have one kidney that was removed when I was 4 years old, and because it was removed when I was so young, my other kidney grew twice the size of a normal adult’s kidney. It’s a super kidney!

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

In fall 2020, I placed third in the Associated Collegiate Press’ Multimedia category for my work on The Red & Black’s podcast, “The Front Page.” I covered a week of protests for racial justice happening in Athens last summer. I worked really hard on that podcast and that episode specifically, and I was so glad that this important story was recognized.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about storytelling, and I want to apply my skills to support compelling narratives. This can really be seen in how I’ve applied my skills to my work throughout the years — I moved from reporter to podcast producer to social media editor at The Red & Black, where I learned how my skills could support the organization I worked for. Now, as CNN Audio’s marketing intern, I’ve learned how to use marketing and my communication skills in order to support world class storytelling. Plus, you can always find me listening to a podcast or reading through the headlines. I love consuming stories and great journalism!

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

The Red & Black has had the biggest impact on my life during my undergraduate career. It is truly the best place to hone in on your journalistic skills. While Grady’s courses provide essential training, having the ability to work in a professional newsroom is invaluable. I was able to find out what I was truly interested in when I moved up from contributor to a member of the editorial board. I eventually pitched, produced and marketed The Red & Black’s podcast “The Front Page,” and talking about that experience led me to a role at CNN Audio. I now hope to pursue post-graduate opportunities in podcasting and radio. If it weren’t for The Red & Black, I’m not sure if I ever would have discovered this interest.

Where is your favorite place on campus?

North Campus is my favorite place on campus. When it gets warm, my favorite thing to do is get milk tea from Bubble Café downtown and study on the North Campus lawn. After I leave Athens, it’ll definitely be the thing I miss the most.

What has been the hardest part about adjusting to COVID-19 in your life as a student and future professional?

The hardest thing about COVID-19 has been everything being virtual. Last semester, I had major Zoom fatigue, and I found it hard at times to stay motivated. However, something that has been an upside to this virtual environment is that you can really connect with anyone in the world! I’ve been able to network with people in New York, and at CNN, I frequently network with people that I might have never met if the internship wasn’t virtual. 

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Sydney Dangremond

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

To me, tenacity is holding on when it would be easier to let go. Holding onto loved ones, holding onto the truth, holding onto our humanity, holding onto hope. I think the past year has served as a case study in tenacity for all of us. For a year now, without reprieve, the hits have kept on coming and weighing on our collective conscience. The ability to move through hardship, listen and learn from experts, have empathy and not become numb to the world is an incredible expression of tenacity. 

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

Finding out I had earned a staff position at The Red & Black was probably my proudest moment this year. I was still relatively new to the paper, but had already fallen head-over-heels for the work, the people and the culture. Finding out that the feeling was mutual was really wonderful. Since then, I’ve had the honor of covering some of the biggest news stories, from the Senate runoff to the insurrection to the Wall Street squeeze. I’ve loved every minute.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I’ve been a member of the Save the Manatee Club for 15 years. I did a report on them in second grade and immediately fell in love. Spring semester freshman year I had the incredible opportunity to swim with the manatees in Florida on a trip with the UGA Outdoor Recreation Center. Seeing them in the wild was definitely a high point of my college career. 

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

Studying abroad at Oxford University completely changed my life. Not only did I get to study at one of the best universities in the world, but I also made the most incredible friends who I know I’ll stay close to for the rest of my life. 

What are you passionate about?

I love to learn, and I love to tell stories. These passions have taken many forms from curating a TEDxUGA talk to writing for The Red & Black, but both have allowed me to expand my knowledge and perspective and tell important stories to a broader audience. 

Who is your professional hero?  

I don’t know if I have any heroes, but I have a great professional respect for people who have a gift for storytelling. From Aaron Sorkin and Jon Meacham who inspire to Tina Fey and David Sedaris who elevate humor with their intelligence, and Jonathan Goldstein who is sentimental but never cloying, to Roman Mars who can make the most mundane seem fascinating, there are a number of great storytellers I admire.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?

Growing up, my mom told me that no matter how you squeeze an orange, the only thing that’s going to come out of it is orange juice. It’s made me consider my reactions and view them as a display of who I am rather than a result of anyone else’s actions. This advice has saved me from many a misguided text or tweet. 

What has been the hardest part about adjusting to COVID-19 in your life as a student and future professional?

By far the most bizarre part of starting a new job during the pandemic has been the formation of relationships entirely over the internet. I’ve made friends and communicated regularly for months with people I’ve never seen in person. Slack, you are both my enemy and my lifeline.

What is your favorite app or social media channel? 

Lately, my favorite social media has been Twitter. Obviously, I enjoy the jokes and memes, but I also think it’s a great place to join conversations about the news. Yes, misinformation is a major issue on social platforms, but sometimes I think seeing people’s reactions to the news can be just as informative as the news itself. At their best, Twitter and other platforms have opened the door to broader conversations and unique perspectives on the issues facing the world. 

Where is your favorite place on campus?

I’ve always been a sucker for the lawns on north campus, but even more so since COVID-19 struck. Over the summer, lying out on north campus, enjoying the weather and doing classwork was my favorite way to feel connected to my community in a time of significant isolation. The lawns have also provided a safe way to spend socially distant time with friends and for that, I am so grateful. 

The Red & Black receives prestigious Pacemaker Award

The University of Georgia’s student-run newspaper, The Red & Black, took home a Pacemaker Award at last weekend’s Fall National College Media Convention. The Pacemaker Award recognizes student publications for overall excellence throughout the school year.

The Pacemaker is considered the Associated Collegiate Press’ “preeminent award,” according to Laura Widmer, the ACP’s executive director. There are also categories for online, magazines and yearbooks, in addition to newspapers.

There were 160 applicants from both two- and four-year schools for the 2019 newspaper award, which was then narrowed down to 46 finalists. Being among the 19 winning newspapers  puts The Red & Black in the top 12% of competing publications.

Other winners include Texas A&M’s The Battalion, Syracuse University’s The Daily Orange and UCLA’s Daily Bruin.

“What’s so meaningful about the Pacemaker is that it represents the hard work of the entire Red & Black staff throughout an entire school year,” said Rebecca Burns, the publisher and editorial advisor at The Red & Black. “It reflects the consistent commitment to journalism excellence by everyone at The Red & Black, from contributors still in training to seasoned desk editors who have been involved for years.”

Burns also gave special recognition to Erin Schilling and Maggie Holland (AB ’19), the former editors in chief from fall 2018 and spring 2019, respectively.

The fall 2018 Ampersand Magazine, one of The Red & Black’s special publications, was one of 41 finalists for the Pacemaker Award in the magazine category.

Individual awards were also given at the convention. The categories include reporter, advertisement, cartoon, design, local climate change reporting, multimedia story, photo and story.

Christina Manacotta (AB ’19), former chief photographer for The Red & Black, won first place in the feature photo category for a photo taken an Extra Special People event last spring.

Honorable mentions for the Red & Black include former Staff Cartoonist Nile DeFrietas’ comic strip “Fresh” in the cartoon category, and the spring 2019 edition of the special publication Eat & Drink, Athens, GA, under advertisement.

The Fall National College Media Convention was held from Oct. 31 through Nov. 3 in Washington, D.C. The Red & Black was represented at the convention by former Editors-in-Chief Sofia Gratas and Erin Schilling, both Grady journalism students, and incoming Editor-in-Chief Hunter Riggall.