Today’s Media Monday comes to us from Keven Ann Willey, vice president and editorial page editor for The Dallas Morning News.
She and I overlapped a couple years while we were students at Northern Arizona University – she was the editor of The Lumberjack and played on the NAU women’s volleyball team. We also served together for a couple years on the NAU School of Communication’s Advisory Board.
After leaving Flagstaff, Keven worked briefly at The AP in Phoenix and then 22 years at The Arizona Republic, where she was a reporter, political columnist and editorial page editor before moving to The Dallas Morning News in 2002. Editorial pages under her direction have won the Pulitzer Prize once and been finalists three other times at two newspapers since 2001. She’s also got a boatload of individual honors for news, column and editorial writing, including National Headliners honors from the Press Club of Atlantic City and awards from The Associated Press Managing Editors Association, the Best of the West contest and the Arizona Press Club.
So Keven, time to share:
My interest in politics began early. When my family lived in Washington, D.C., my mother used to take me as a baby in my bassinet to the U.S. Senate gallery to watch the likes of Everett Dirksen and Estes Kefauver debate the issues of the day.
I went into college as an English Lit major wanting to write the Great American Novel. The faculty adviser at freshman orientation was a journalism professor and listening to him I began to think writing about current events would be fun. (I could always write the Great American Novel later, right?) In those days the only options in MassComm were newspapers, TV-radio or PR-advertising tracks.
I picked the newspaper track because I loved covering events and issues - lectures by cutting-edge scientists, new policies re campus safety, investigations into alleged wrongdoing at City Hall, etc. - and then writing about them on deadline. I thought: Wow, I could actually be paid to learn new and interesting things and then write about them to make them new and interesting for other people. What a great way to make a living!
I like to create opportunities for people to succeed, to reach higher and achieve more than they dreamed they could. That goes for writers developing their writing skills and editors developing their editing skills. I also love public policy debates, and I like connecting people who might not otherwise meet and who together can do great things to help make the world a better place. That's what lights my fire.
When I’m not working, I enjoy hiking and biking, and spending time with my chef husband in downtown Dallas.