Journalism was Kelley Carter’s destiny

New_headshotNative Detroiter Kelley Carter is the senior editor of entertainment for Buzzfeed. She graduated from Southfield Lathrup High School and Michigan State University. She has always wanted to be a writer. At the age of five, she would write fiction stories for her parents to read.
Carter’s mother was an English professor so she always had the advantage of an educator and mentor at home. In the fifth grade, Carter began writing for her school yearbook. One year later she was writing for her middle school newspaper and that marked the beginning of something special.
Writing for a digital news site that has a broadband as large as Buzzfeed is special. Carter expresses that she could have never imagined that she would have the experiences that she has had throughout her career.
“I could very well be doing something next week that I couldn’t intellectualize how to do right now. That’s the great thing about being a journalist.” Carter says.
Professionally, she’s been reporting since 1998. However, it was at Michigan State University that she began writing for the State News where she first gained what she refers to as “the best experience she could have ever received.” Carter’s first professional position after MSU was with the Detroit Free Press, where she learned to be an arts and entertainment critic.
While writing for that publication, Carter developed and nurtured her own creative writing style. She fell in love with writing, storytelling and interviewing. Carter describes it as “getting paid to be nosey.”
“Writing caters to all my interests” she says.
Carter was happy to receive her first professional opportunity in her hometown where all her family members could have a front row seat of her career.
Carter’s first entertainment reporting covered rappers 50 Cent and Eminem in a segment of the paper called “The Emerging Hip Hop Scene.” Her first television appearance was nationally televised on Fox when she covered the shooting death of Eminem group member and friend Big Proof. Carter also remembers writing about Big Sean and introducing him to Detroiters years ago.
“To be honored with the guy that is soundtracking our lives makes me feel a little cooler about this recognition,” Carter says.
Advice that Carter gives for anyone who would like to become a writer is to read other writers’ work. She believes that this will help you develop your own style of writing. She feels that the greatest compliment is when people have recognized her writings before they knew she was the author. She loves to hear a reader say, “I knew that this was a Kelly Carter story.”
We live in a multimedia world now, so you can’t be comfortable just being a writer, you must also be comfortable in front of a camera. Verbalizing her stories on television is something she loves to do. Carter also advises prospective writers to “read, travel and experience a lot. How you present a story is based on how you view the world. The wider the scope you have the better types of stories you will write.”
Carter says that she grew up in a newspaper home. Everyone in her house read the newspaper. She believes that by being a black journalist she knows the legacy and importance of black newspapers and that she wouldn’t be able to do what she does today if outlets like The Michigan Chronicle weren’t there to break down barriers.
“To be honored by my hometown newspaper as a ‘40 under 40’ is very special to me,” she says. “To have my family to be a part of a journey that they helped me to achieve is a great accomplishment.”


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