Thursday, July 4, 2013

Stanley Kay: Suburban Dad by Day

Stanley Kay isn’t a D.C. newbie – although he hails from Del Ray Beach, Fla., he spent his childhood in Potomac, Md.
Back then, he says he only came into Washington to go to the museums. Now that he’s interning at The Washingtonian though, he’s embraced the commuter life and lives with family in Maryland. 

“In many ways, it feels like I’m a full-on suburban dad," he said. "It’s easy to get stuck in the suburban shell.”

When Kay was little, he was convinced he was going to become a major-league baseball player, despite his type 1 diabetes. He jokes that maybe the major leagues will still call him up and refer to his t-ball jersey number. Kay soon realized that practicing - he didn’t like it very much - combined with the scorching Florida heat was not his ideal combination. His passion for sports evolved from playing them to following them.

Kay viewed ESPN's SportsCenter “religiously” when he was younger. His obsession led him to intern at ESPN 106.3 in West Palm Beach from the summer of 9th grade all the way through his freshman year of college. He also interned at Florida’s NBC affiliate for sports broadcasting. He was convinced he would become a sports broadcaster.

But everything changed when Kay read a story
in the September 2010 issue of GQ by J.R. Moehringer about LeBron James’ decision to play for the Miami Heat. It became one of his favorite GQ pieces ever.

“I had been oversaturated with LeBron James coverage,” Kay said. “Everyone was freaking out, but no one really stopped and considered why, besides the obvious reasons. The piece took you into his mind and gave you a really great sense of who he was through beautiful writing.”

The piece, “Three Weeks in Crazyville,” shifted Kay's focus to the magazine industry. He “fell in love” with the in-depth storytelling style of magazines and became a journalism and political science major at Northwestern University. Kay had worked as the features editor for the web this past spring at North By Northwestern, Northwestern University’s general interest magazine, and will be promoted to editor of the print magazine in the fall.

“Journalism really helps me understand other people and have empathy for people,” Kay says. “It’s made me want to understand, made me disappointed when I see others making assumptions and labeling. Everyone has a great story to tell, and you can learn a lot by talking to others.”

Kay has been at The Washingtonian for three weeks, but he says he’s already learned things he’ll carry with him throughout his career, especially from fact checking. He’s become more meticulous and focused on details. 

“At The Washingtonian, interns are one of the last lines of defense for fact checking," he said. "They trust and value us.”

When he pictures his future, Kay said working at The Washingtonian is his first choice, but he’d work anywhere. 

“If I am able to tell or help tell stories about people and try to make a difference that way, I think that’s the most important," he said. "It doesn’t matter if it’s a national publication or a local one. If I can do that, put some food in my mouth and feed a family one day, I would be honored and happy.”

By April Castillo, SUNY New Paltz, Woman’s Day
Edited by Mary Clare Fischer, University of Maryland, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

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