Meet our high school participants-turned-summer-interns!
By: Hermes Falcon
Youthcast Media Group welcomes back Kymani Hughes and Courtney Curtis, former students at YMG who participated in our training and wrote articles during and after high school before joining our staff this summer. Kymani is a rising sophomore at Syracuse University with a major in applied data analytics, and is working as a print intern on health-related articles, while creating TikToks and contributing to YMG’s other social media.
Courtney is a 2021 graduate of Bard High School Early College DC where she left with an Associates of Arts degree and high school diploma simultaneously. Courtney is YMG’s new social media intern, and will be working on a diverse set of tasks ranging from graphics to photography and video production.
Kymani (pronounced key-mah-knee) and Courtney sat down with YMG intern Hermes Falcon and spoke about themselves, their interest in journalism and what led them to YMG.
Q: Tell me a fun fact about yourself
K: My favorite fruit is mango. I love mangoes. My TikTok and Instagram handle are both mango-related. As a kid, in my first childhood home, I had a mango tree in the backyard. My granddaddy and I, we would always pick out the ripest mangoes that were super juicy and sweet, and we would go inside and cut them up and eat them. Mangoes are dear to me. I’ve also been really into watching That’s So Raven, and my mom got me tickets to see Beyonce.
C: I have six siblings - four sisters and one brother. They live in different states, though. I have a dog named Bubbles. She’s one year old. She’s my baby, I love her so much. I got her when she was six weeks, so all she knows is me. Another fun fact I would say is that I graduated high school with my associate’s degree. I want to do music production, but that’s something I want to do creatively on the side.
Q: What sparked an interest in journalism?
K: I wanted to pursue journalism because I think it’s important to bring attention to particular issues that a lot of people might not know about, especially with YMG where we cover health-focused stories. I’m majoring in data analytics, which I think is cool because I’m considering going into data journalism, and I like how I can combine technology, especially data, with journalism to bring attention to stories like this because health-focused stories require a lot of data to support the story.
C: I just recently started to say that I like storytelling. At first, I really wanted to be a journalist and just stick to the facts, but now I want to mix it with creativity. That’s why I say storytelling now. But I’ve always wanted to since I was a little kid. I’ve been writing since I could write. I’ve enjoyed writing diary entries, poems, rap and songs. I used to say I wanted to be a multimedia journalist, anything that had to do with writing. I started realizing around 9th grade when I met Jayne that I liked the media aspect of journalism, too. The first time I ever got to use cameras and mics is when I realized that part of media is really fun, too, and I want to dive deeper into that.
Q: How did you come to know YMG?
K: My first time working with YMG was a bootcamp with (former USA TODAY reporter) Alan Gomez. We covered housing insecurity. I think that’s when I really got to see what YMG was about, because a lot of us were Miami Lakes Educational Center (MLEC) students. We were students who didn’t necessarily get a chance to have a big break when it came to our bylines getting published in a national or statewide publication. We were able to cover a story about an immigrant family and their struggle with housing insecurity. To be a student who could interview these people, get their story across and ultimately get my own byline in something as big as The Miami New Times, I think that was very important to me.
C: I was at Richard Wright Public Charter School and Jayne came, I think she was doing an info-session because there were a whole bunch of us in the cafeteria. I signed up immediately because I thought, “Get paid to write? Yeah!” I’ve always taken classes and jobs, like summer youth employment (SYE) where I get paid to learn. I thought it’d be a great experience to write for YMG, and a lot of the people I knew from higher grades participated in workshops with Jayne. We immediately started writing stories. As a group, we were writing stories and brainstorming ideas. I would also help Jayne with organization of YMG paperwork into files.
Q: What is your current role at YMG?
K: Right now, I’m a print/reporting intern at YMG. My main goal to accomplish is to write three stories that I can publish by the end of the summer. I’m working on two stories about reproductive health, and the other one is about the lack of Black psychiatrists. I also might write a story about a mental health center in Miami. At the end of my internship, I definitely want to not only have stories published and have a couple more bylines underneath my belt, I really want to develop my leadership skills and build connections with my coworkers.
C: Currently, I’m the social media intern. I’ve created TikToks in addition to plan and create Instagram posts. I do a lot of in-person events, as well. I do photography, shoot video or take notes for other things. I also write stories every once in a while, but that’s just about it for now. I think I’m happy where I am now, but I do enjoy the social media aspect of it. I’d like to help more with that. I enjoy writing, too. If I could find a way to continue doing both, I’d try to do both.
Q: How do you want people to remember you?
K: I definitely want people to associate me with being a hard worker. I want people to associate me with my work, and to see me as someone who’s serious about journalism and serious about data analytics. I want to present myself as someone who takes their craft seriously, but also someone who’s able to take criticism and be a good team player.
C: I define myself as creative. That’s just everything that I do. I enjoy storytelling and creating. Creativity is very important to me, and it has been ever since I was a kid. I do know that I’m going to be someone—I want to make a change in many communities. One way or another, through my reporting, storytelling or media. I want to find a way to help people, especially youth.