As a Black and Guatemalan woman working as a reporter and correspondent for DailyMail.com and DailyMailTV, a British company where the majority of employees are white, Kayla Brantley ’17 said she’s learned from experience that it’s important to advocate for herself and help her newsroom colleagues better understand issues facing people of color today.
“I would never let being a Black and Latina woman in this field deter me or bring me down,” Brantley said.
As a reporter and correspondent, Brantley writes and edits all the articles for the website, DailyMail.com. Some of her stories are run as TV segments, and then she appears on camera to report the story on DailyMailTV.
Brantley said she speaks up at work if she sees something inaccurate or unfair being reported. For example, Brantley explained that if she sees a headline referring to a black person as a criminal and a white person by their profession, she’ll try to correct it depending on the scenario.
Asked about the effectiveness of the media’s coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement, Brantley said she thinks that it is a difficult subject to report on due to how it’s evolved and the numerous layers it has. “It started with what happened with George Floyd, then there are new killings that are happening. We have protests happening that erupt into riots and questions about whether the actual protesters are rioting or if it’s white supremacists trying to give protesters a bad reputation. It never ends,” Brantley said.
Pointing to a lack of diversity in many newsrooms, Brantley said she believes this can be corrected through hiring practices and those in positions of power. “It starts at the top, you’re more inclined with hiring what you know,” Brantley said. “If you have people in charge of hiring who are all one color, you’re more likely to see that in people that you hire.”
Her journey with DailyMail began right after she graduated, when Brantley saw the job listed in an email blast sent by Professor of Professional Practice Steven Miller, who is also Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Journalism and Media Studies Department.
Many of the skills she learned as a JMS undergraduate heavily influence the work she does today, Brantley said. The News Reporting and Writing Class taught her how to write effectively and always get to the most important information in the story first. She also said she wishes she could take the Media Ethics and Law class again because she believes it is the most important class for any aspiring journalist to take.
One piece of advice she said she gives to all current SC&I students is to obtain internships as soon as possible because working as an intern can set them up for working in the real world. “The most important part of an internship is that it broadens your network and range. It makes you a more valuable and competitive employee,” said Brantley.
Read more about Brantley here: Kayla Brantley '17 Wins Henry Rutgers Scholar Award