May 27, 2021

Kanno-Youngs’ advice: Be versatile

Daniela Perez

On Tuesday, we spoke with alumni about their journeys after participating in SJI. The speaker who stuck out to me was Zolan Kanno-Youngs, who did not stay in sports, but instead took a news path that has landed him at The New York Times, where he’s part of a team of reporters covering the White House.

Kanno-Youngs, part of SJI’s Class of 2015, interned that summer at USA Today but he soon moved on to news. As a breaking news reporter at the Wall Street Journal he learned the in’s and out’s of covering crime in New York City. In 2019 he moved to The Times, where he covered the Department of Homeland Security before moving to the White House beat earlier this year.

It was cool to see how an alum has applied what he learned in SJI bootcamp to the so-called real world. Kanno-Youngs admitted he felt a bit overwhelmed seeing his byline on the front page of The Times atop a story covering the U.S. Capitol insurrection.

His advice to us was to be versatile;  Kanno-Youngs has been on CNN and spoken about his articles, and has to be ready to make TV appearances at any moment.

As someone who sees herself as primarily a print reporter, I will remember his advice. To be a journalist in the 21st Century, I must be ready to take on any assignment, whether it’s social media, writing or being on TV.  --Daniela Perez

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