Qwoted is committed to exploring the current state of the media by speaking to industry leaders and educating future generations of media professionals. What has social media and technological innovation brought to the table? What can we expect for the future of journalism?
Kalilah Reynolds began her journalism career by hosting a morning radio and television talk show reporting daily news in Belize, her native country. With a keen interest in economics, finance, and a degree in Journalism from Fordham University, she rose to the role of News Editor for Belizean radio station KREM. In 2014, Reynolds began reporting on current affairs as the host of Nationwide News Network’s morning program in Jamaica. By 2019, she had won an award in this area by the Press Association of Jamaica – twice – paving the way to her securing the role of Business and Finance Editor. In October 2019, Reynolds launched Taking Stock with Kalilah Reynolds on YouTube and Nationwide News Network with a mission to “provide financial education for ordinary people by making business and finance easy to understand, helping to create and maintain personal wealth and prosperous economies.” A year later, she left Nationwide to commit to Kalilah Reynolds Media full time and launch her website, kalilahreynolds.com
If there’s one thing you could change or improve about journalism—in any area—what might that be and why?
KR: I can’t stand stiff, formal language and jargon in news writing, especially in financial reporting. This isolates potential readers, viewers and listeners and makes them feel like this information isn’t for them. Writers can win the interest of laymen by using common language and breaking things down in a way that’s easy to understand. I’ve converted thousands of people who didn’t even know they were interested in financial information into now-savvy investors, just by using common language and communicating in a way that’s more relatable.
What do you see as some of journalism’s biggest potential pitfalls?
KR: One of journalism’s biggest pitfalls is the current traditions of breaking news, especially with the urgency that social media has created. In the rush to be first, there are times when we get it wrong. Better to be last and right, than first and wrong.
What advice would you give to aspiring young writers and reporters?
KR: 1) Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
2) Be diligent and dogged in your pursuit.
3) When in doubt, leave it out.
Social media has upended the traditional media landscape. One of the great challenges it creates is authenticity and malevolent actors. How do think journalists and reporters should deal with the rising tide of misinformation?
KR: Social media platforms have allowed us a wider audience and the opportunity to reach specific audiences. At the same time, social platforms have led to the rise of “citizen journalism” and the spread of fake news. In the haste to be first and gain internet fame, many well-meaning people often spread unverified information that can have harmful repercussions. I believe, however, that this has made professional journalists more important than ever, as people turn to them as trusted sources for news. Journalists should serve as a filter for misinformation by providing the truth for users.
What gives you hope for the future of journalism?
KR: Journalism is not going anywhere. Radio was expected to kill off print journalism. The same thoughts followed as television rose in popularity. Now, some argue that social media will cause the death of traditional media. Not so! The foundations of journalism are strong and more relevant than ever. Traditional media have suffered because of a refusal to innovate and embrace new media. There is still tremendous opportunity for the media industry to thrive. Advertisers are finally beginning to see the value of these partnerships, and are more willing to sponsor online content, supporting the viability of media businesses.