Interview: Holly Kernan

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Holly KernanIn fall 2014, Holly Kernan returned to KQED — after more than a decade as KALW's news and public affairs director — to take the position of executive editor for news. As head of the KQED's news division, she's responsible for managing the newsroom (on radio, television and online) and presiding over its growth.

What's something you particularly like about your job?
I love almost everything about my job. I love the people, both in the building and those I get to connect with in the community. I also love it when we do stories that have an impact. This is a time when KQED is really embracing change, and I am thrilled to be on board with this next phase of growth at a venerable institution. I've come back to my broadcast home.

The business model of newspapers has failed, and we've lost so many watchdog journalists. Knowing that public broadcasting should be stepping into that space in a big way and knowing that KQED has the expertise to do it but doesn't have as many resources as we'd like at this point is a challenge. That said, KQED is growing. But, can our growth keep up with the increasing demand for civic engagement, depth news and connection — the very things KQED excels at providing?

What are some of your goals for the next six to 12 months?
One project is integrating our news operations. KQED is working toward being a multimedia organization that doesn't silo radio, TV, digital and social media, but integrates them and becomes "platform agnostic" in the way we look at a story. We also want to increase our capacity to do enterprise reporting — more in-depth projects where we are driving the news agenda.

Can you give some examples?
Following some of the refugees and immigrants who flooded across the border last summer and finding out how are they settling in. Or perhaps shadowing one of them through the judicial system to see what the experience is like for them. Another example is Price Check, where we are crowd-sourcing the costs of medical procedures and reporting back. We're looking to really engage with our audiences in a deeper way.


Any guilty pleasures?
On Netflix there's a BBC show The Game, which I love. The Game and potato chips!