Kaya Danae



I was initially completely stumped on where my beat would go. I was thrilled to be focusing on refugees as that closely relates to the profession I want to pursue, but wasn’t sure what stories I could come up with locally.

After reaching out to multiple LBGT activists in Salt Lake City, I was incredibly lucky to meet Connell, who put me in direct contact with an LGBT community living in a refugee camp in Kenya. This experience really showed me how important it is to be persistent and make contacts. I definitely went out of my comfort zone introducing myself to people, but it was good preparation and I have been pleasantly surprised with the community interest in this crisis that is happening across the world.

After getting over my self doubt (I had a really hard time establishing myself as a real journalist) and being very critical of my own writing, I think I am starting to find my voice. This is a topic I am very passionate about, so that definitely made it easier. I do want to improve painting a picture for my readers, but since I was just relaying information I heard, that was difficult for me to do in an honest way. I imagine that when I’m on the ground experiencing what I am covering, that will be more plausible.

There were two aspects to this beat that were discouraging that apply to any and all stories I will cover in the future. I had interviews fall through, pushed back, and I had a lot of my contacts never respond to me. I do enjoy the search and challenge of gathering information, but I know that I will be on a shorter timeline in the future and that’s something I’ll need to practice. The other aspect I found difficult was separating opinions and facts. All of the interviews I conducted were very emotional and I was tempted to pour my heart out onto the story. While I did have a call to action at the end of each story, I tried very hard to make objective pieces. I am looking forward to have the opportunity to work on opinion pieces, though.


Kaya Danae is an aspiring international relations correspondent with a passion for human rights advocacy. Danae studies journalism at the University of Utah. As a contributor to Voices of Utah, Danae chose to focus her beat on the mistreatment of LGBTQI refugees, specifically in Kenya. Her passion for international human rights advocacy began during her gap year through Global Citizen Year, where she lived with a host family in Senegal and learned the importance of immersion for understanding and portraying an issue accurately. As Danae progresses in her career, she hopes to emphasize unheard voices and shed light on injustice.

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