Senior Director, Innovation and Partnerships at CBC News, Current Affairs and Local
Kenny Yum, School of Journalism '98, is the Senior Director, Innovation and Partnerships at CBC News, Current Affairs. This interview was conducted when he was the Local Chief of Staff and Senior Director at CBC News.
How has your journalism degree helped you?
My [university] education opened the door to my first internships, that led to jobs and that ultimately bought me to where I am today. The connections to the industry were important but what I take from my days at J-Schools were many of the basics I stress with staff that come into my newsrooms.
What have you done since graduating?
I leaped into digital, now having worked for the Globe and Mail, the National Post in senior digital roles. I’m now the managing editor at AOL Canada, where I oversee properties such as the Huffington Post Canada. In my career, I’ve covered the many of the pivotal events of the digital era — countless elections, Sept. 11, the dot-com crash and the rise of social.
What attracted you to journalism in the first place? And why online?
I’m curious, and I love reading and telling stories. It was the natural place to be. Looking back, I look at a childhood where I was first introduced to the very first personal computers in the early ’80s. Digital felt right and I’m lucky to have had a role in its rise in the Canadian news landscape.
Scariest moment on the job? Best moment?
Scariest: I was the evening editor at globeandmail.com early in my career, and the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I woke up after the towers went down. I booted it into work and saw the sun rise the next morning after a very long day. The next month was exhausting, but one of the most memorable and challenging moments, when I realized what it was to work with “grace under pressure.” Those lessons keep me steady in stressful circumstances.
Best: Playing a role in launching major sites — and of course, building upon that hectic launch day.
Any fun memories from j-school?
At [university] and at the Eyeopener I got to work with some of the best journalists I’ve ever known. We had passion for the craft and we had a ton of fun pursuing big things. I realized early on that you don’t study journalism as much as live it.
Do you have any regrets about going into journalism?
What advice would you give current journalism students?
The classroom is where you start, but not where it ends. Use your time at [university] to immerse yourself in reporting, editing. You’ll find out whether you love it or not — and when you get out there, you won’t regret it as your prospective employers expect you to run, not walk.
Grads at Work is a series of profiles of School of Journalism alums. If you know of a notable grad you’d like to see featured, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.