Web Editor : Alden Alayvilla
Alden Alayvilla started working at Ka Leo because he wanted to grow with like-minded people: classmates and colleagues interested in news, reporting, editing, writing, photography, design and social media.
He started as a contributing writer in September 2013 before becoming a staff writer later that month. Two months later he was promoted to the senior staff writer position and became web editor in May 2014.
“The most challenging, yet rewarding, aspect was getting out of my comfort zone and experimenting with different platforms of reporting,” he said. “I started out as a writer, but by the time I ended my tenure as the web editor in May 2015, I experimented with video stories, audio stories, live-tweeting, photo essays, podcasts as well as utilizing social media.”
Despite the challenges, Alayvilla enjoyed learning from the other staff members at Ka Leo.
“I wouldn't be the journalist I am today without my advisors, editors, fellow students and colleagues,” he said.
In spring 2014 and fall 2014, Alayvilla interned at Hawaii Business magazine. In summer 2015, he worked as a full-time reporter at The Garden Island newspaper on Kauaʻi.
“Ka Leo has helped me grow tremendously as a reporter and as a person. I've learned the majority of my reporting skills from Ka Leo. Without it, I wouldn't have been able to land my internships at Hawaii Business and my full-time reporter position at The Garden Island newspaper on Kaua‘i this summer,” he said. “I encourage anyone to take advantage of the opportunities Ka Leo presents. It will only benefit you.”
Web Developer : Ken Wallace
As one of Ka Leo’s web developers, Ken Wallace had a lot of freedom to complete the tasks he wanted to do with the technology he chose.
He first came onboard in 2012 as a web developer and move up to the web development manager position two years later.
He had first heard about the web developer opening from a friend who told him to apply and that it would look good on his resume.
As a developer, he worked exclusively on long-term projects, such as Ka Leo’s online rate card. As the manager, he responded to technical issues that would pop up from time to time.
“If there were no fires to put out, then I would be free to work on long term projects,” he said.
After graduating in spring 2015, he received a software consulting position.
“I am certain Ka Leo helped me get the job because I had experience working in small teams, helping clients (editorial and advertising) get what they wanted,” he said.
Editor-in-Chief : Alex Bitter
For previous Ka Leo Editor-in-Chief Alex Bitter, writing at the campus newspaper of the college he attended was always his intention.
“...One of the glorious things about a university is that no matter what discipline you’re in, ... there’s some program or there’s some club or there’s some organization that is student run that applies to that discipline,” and Ka Leo was it for the journalism and communication majors on campus, he said.
Bitter had applied for a writer position for the paper’s news desk and received his first assignment before stepping foot on campus in fall 2012.
“I went in, wanting to have some fun and then realizing kind of it was a cool opportunity,” he said. “And then as I got more involved, there were real opportunities and real you know things you can get from Ka Leo that would help you later on in life.”
In spring 2013, he was promoted to the associate news editor position. He then spent fall 2013 at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities and returned in spring 2014 as Ka Leo’s city editor.
He served as editor-in-chief for the 2014-15 academic year, the first year the publication moved from printing three times a week to once a week. The publication also expanded its website with daily content.
Bitter has also received three internships: a SPJ internship at Honolulu Magazine in summer 2013, a SPJ internship at Hawaii Business magazine in summer 2014 and a Dow Jones Business Reporting internship at thestreet.com in summer 2015.
He said the opportunities Ka Leo provided to get published clips and feedback helped him to get his internships.
“That allows you once you have some polished pieces, to take those to an internship or to an employer, and if you’re good enough they’ll appreciate your work and realize that you’ve honed your basic abilities before coming to them, which is worthwhile because it shows them that you will hopefully have a similar drive to improve and to learn and get better at what you’re doing,” he said.
Design Editor : Lilian Cheng
After just being accepted into the Graphic Design Bachelors of Fine Arts program at the end of spring 2013, Lilian Cheng felt she needed design work experience before the portfolio showcase would be held at the end of the year by the program.
“I needed design work experience, a flexible schedule, and something to hold me accountable, so I applied for Ka Leo,” she said.
Cheng started off as a design intern in summer 2013 and advanced to be a page designer the following semester. In spring 2014, she became the associate design editor before overseeing the desk as design editor.
“I wanted money for doing something I enjoyed, was good at, and would prepare me for my career. As an art major, I spent about 50 hours a week on campus in between art studios, so an off-campus job was out of the question,” she said.
While working at the paper, she found the dedication that editors, writers, photographers and designers put into honing their crafts inspiring.
“Ka Leo was also team-oriented, many went beyond their job descriptions so that Ka Leo could be a stronger paper: we had copyeditors that would write, or writers that would take photos, and designers that would illustrate,” she said. “It was a team I was proud to be a part of.”
However, her time at Ka Leo didn’t come without challenges. One was knowing that designers had five days to design an issue as that was enough time to demand revisions but not enough time to be relaxed. As design editor, most of her time was spent in meetings, planning schedules, emailing, teaching and thinking about how she could improve the design desk.
“I wanted a well-designed paper, but I wanted happy designers and a strong team more,” she said.
After graduating in spring 2015, Cheng was hired at Hawaii Business magazine as an associate art director.
“Ka Leo is why I’m hired,” she said. “Showing employers a 42-page Ka Leo at an interview, and telling them “we made this in five days” never failed to impress. Ka Leo is proof that I can produce strong work even when I am not guided by a professor or lesson plan. It’s also proof that I am pretty good with insane deadlines.”