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  • Sincerely, Southern

McCoy uses Georgia Southern experience to pave her way through the journalism world

By Shakeera York-Hayward

Photo courtesy of Kimeko McCoy

A Georgia Southern University journalism graduate and the definition of Black Girl Magic, Kimeko McCoy has worked for several news organizations including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and is now a marketing reporter for the online trade magazine, Digiday.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, McCoy always had a love for storytelling.

McCoy had no real idea of what she wanted to do before that moment. As a child she had many potential career changes. She wanted to be a lawyer and then when she decided that dream wasn’t big enough, she decided that she wanted to be a judge.

It wasn’t just about big boss kind of jobs though; McCoy also dreamed of being a meek librarian as her career path and aspirations changed throughout her childhood. She even flirted with the idea of being a used car salesman, heavily inspired by the movie, “Matilda.”

“Danny DeVito really inspired me,” McCoy joked.

McCoy’s career path was up in the air until the day of her high school senior project.

She found her passion for journalism as a senior in high school when her friend’s dad who was a news anchor, took them to a newsroom for their senior project and gave McCoy a new direction in life.

“I fell in love. It was very…on cloud nine type deal,” McCoy shared about her first newsroom experience.

With the new direction she finally had a career path that fit her perfectly: journalism. It combined the importance of storytelling with her love for communicating and learning.

Knowing without a doubt what she wanted to do with her life, all that was left was to pick a college to hone her craft at.

McCoy was accepted into Georgia State University and Georgia Southern University. She ultimately decided that Georgia State was too close to home, especially when her mother mentioned staying home while attending school, so she chose to attend Georgia Southern.

“I want my own dorm room, I want there to be an actual college campus that’s not in the city, and I had a handful of friends that were going there [Georgia Southern],” McCoy said as she remembered the deciding factors that led her to choosing Georgia Southern.

Georgia Southern was far enough for her to enjoy college without the horror of unexpected parental pop-ups but it was close enough for McCoy to get back home if ever she needed to.

“As soon as I stepped foot on campus, I already knew I wanted to do journalism, so I went ahead and signed up for the program and got rolling,” McCoy said.

McCoy attended Georgia Southern from 2010 to 2014 and during her time at school she was an important member of The George-Anne.

“I started working for The George-Anne my sophomore year,” McCoy said.

She let her love for journalism flow and her Black girl magic shine as she moved up the ranks with the school’s paper.

“I worked under the Feature or Art section, I came up and then I was a reporter for them, then I became an assistant editor, then editor before going back to assistant editor,” McCoy said.

She fluctuated between the editor and assistant editor positions during her senior year.

Sanford Hall was under construction when McCoy was a senior so for the time that she was here, she bounced around from building to building for classes because the Communication Arts department didn’t have a home yet.

After graduating from Georgia Southern in 2014, McCoy dived right into her career and took a job in Florida.

“I hated Florida,” McCoy said, “mostly because of the lizards…the lizards and the heat. I couldn’t do it. It was not a good fit for me, but I don’t regret going down there at all because I think it was a good move for me career wise.”

McCoy has displayed the same Black girl magic throughout her career that she did when she worked for The George-Anne by moving up as she’s changed positions and worked for different companies.

Her next job was reporting for a local newspaper back home in Atlanta, Georgia escaping the lizards and the heat that plagued her in Florida. McCoy recalled having an okay beat with the local newspaper before moving on and working for the AJC.

Stephanie Toone is a former coworker of McCoy’s, she was pleased to speak about her.

After moving around Georgia, McCoy took on a new job that landed her in New York as a marketing reporter for online trade magazine Digiday.

In every job that she’s had, McCoy has taken lessons from Georgia Southern along the way. The Twitter account that she uses is the same one she set up for a class that she took while she was here in 2012.

Journalism professors at Georgia Southern are known for challenging their students and being firm. It helps soon to be journalists develop tough skin for what can, at times, be a difficult field to work in. Things were no different when McCoy was attending school and a part of the journalism program.

“I don’t know if I would have had the thick skin that I have now to where an editor can tell me that my story sucks if I didn’t have professors who were not afraid to look me in my eye and say, ‘no ma’am, let’s take it back to the drawing board’ and challenge me the way they did,” McCoy said.

McCoy even keeps up with her friends from Georgia Southern. They have a Facebook group and take annual mountain trips together, which McCoy admittedly hasn’t participated in for the past two years but it’s a weather thing.

“If they turned that mountain trip into a beach trip, I might be a little more likely to go,” McCoy said.

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