“COVID-19 has changed our futures,” said Kelsey Myers ’01, speaking as part of the Kathryn Green lecture series, which brings back a Johnston Center for Integrative Studies alumni for conversations with current students.
Now a senior media strategist at Esri, the Redlands-based technology company, Myers shared his experiences, including how his college activities led to a career in broadcast journalism.
Myers suggested he wouldn’t have been able to weather the challenges and changes throughout his career—the fast pace of news studios and transitioning into the media relations field—without the knowledge he acquired as a Bulldog.
After agreeing to become the student manager of the U of R women’s soccer team, Myers began reporting on athletics for The Bulldog Weekly, the student newspaper at the time. Because the Media and Visual Culture Studies program did not yet exist, he decided to pursue a media studies emphasis through the Johnston Center. From there, he landed an internship at the Redlands Daily Facts, covered the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, while studying abroad, and received bylines in the Los Angeles Times.
Shortly after graduating, Myers joined the editorial team at Larry King Live in 2001. In 2007, he was hired by ABC News, and, four years later, landed a position as an editorial producer at CBS News, where he reported on natural disasters, shootings, scandals, technology, and outer space. Intermittently, he returned to sports coverage, reporting on college football and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“There’s a direct connection between working with Coach [Suzette] Soboti and the women’s soccer team and covering events at Dodger Stadium,” he said. “My Redlands hat came with me every step of the way. To me, the ‘R’ stands for resilience.”
After working for major news networks, Myers took a position in talent and business development at Masterclass. Now, Myers, who originally planned to major in environmental studies at Redlands, combines his interests in technology, media, and science in his position at Esri.
Paying it forward
Myers has also taken time to mentor current Johnston student Nikki Ramirez ’22, who seems to be on a similar academic and career trajectory. After coming to Redlands to study biology and play on the softball team, she opted to manage the team so she could pursue her Johnston emphasis in Journalism: Sports & Culture. Like Myers, she landed an internship at a local newspaper, the Desert Sun.
The pandemic has changed Ramirez’s future as well, by putting her in-person internship and study abroad experiences on hold, but she, too, is resilient. “I’m grateful to have a remote internship with the Victorville Daily Press, and I’m learning the experience of being a journalist is making connections with others,” she said. “I’ve been writing about members of my community and how they’ve been affected by COVID-19.”
Before closing the conversation, attendees were encouraged to ask Myers and Ramirez questions. Fielding an inquiry from former Bulldog Weekly Editor in Chief Emily Davila ’02, Myers revealed that changing job sectors and organizational environments were similar to the transition from the College of Arts and Sciences into Johnston—both situations encouraged him to take risks and welcome opportunity into his life.
Myers’ former advisor and mentor, Professor of Creative Writing Alisa Slaughter, asked how we can begin to think of the media in more productive ways. Before signing off, Myers replied: “There’s a lot of information in our world. Accuracy, credibility, and authenticity are key. That’s why we need the Nikkis of the world to go out and be the person that people can rely on for the best version of the truth.”
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