Dream Job: Q&A With Girl Up Guest Speaker Whitney Burney

On Thursday, March 10th, guest speaker Whitney Burney attended the Girl Up Club here at City and gave some insight into the day to day life of a reporter. Whitney Burney joined the News 8 team in June of 2019. She was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan and, after graduating from City High Middle School in 2012, she went on to study journalism and political science at Michigan State University. She got her first job reporting in central Virginia. She has always wanted to do something writing based and reporting “just clicked.” She spent 2 years working in Virginia, and was  present for the violent rallies in Charlottesville in her first 3 months on the job. She has been back in her home town of Grand Rapids for 3 years now. She has worked at a channel in Lansing Michigan called “Home TV”, Channel 7  based in Detroit, and Channel 6 in Lansing.


Who were your favorite teachers during your time at City?

“I was here at City from 7th grade until 12th, and I think [I’d say] Mr. Korienek and Mr. Tu. Oh, and Mrs. Emperor, of course.”

How much sway do you have in the things you say live on TV?

“Well, before you do a live broadcast, you attend a (usually) 30 min meeting to tell you about what you want to say live. Your producer picks the ones they want on broadcast, and you pursue those stories and figure out who you want to interview.”

How do you respond to hate with grace?

“There are always going to be haters, and you have to know that people who make mean comments are [only] reflecting themselves. You just have to have a very thick skin, because there are always going to  be people like that.”

Do you consider yourself an activist?

“The opinions that I keep can’t really come into play on live TV, but I can give advice to editorial people, and push for topics that are important to me, or particularly interest me. A lot of issues that [inspire me the most] are usually about people who are like me, women, people of color, or other minorities.” 

How did your experience at City impact your career?

“I think my experience at City opened my eyes to different people. It helped me develop in general as a writer and reader, and definitely prepared me for college. One skill set you have to learn is how to be self-sufficient. In order to succeed here, you really have to try.”

What’s it like to read off of a teleprompter?

“Well, it feels unnatural at first. When you anchor, it’s usually not the first time you have read the script, so when you read it on TV it is more natural sounding and comes easier”

What’s your dream job?

“I have a vision board and in the top right corner is the Good Morning America logo. There are many hurdles to pass, but I think it’s attainable.”

Writer at The City Voice

My name is Stephen Pellathy, I am an 8th grader here at City. I enjoy writing about current events and foreign politics in general.

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