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Kyra Burns, Editor at Northern Valleys News

image (5)Kyra Burns is currently working as an Editor for Northern Valleys News, and has been in this role since 2016. 

She has also spent nearly two decades working in a range of diverse fields including dentistry, real estate, and dental sales, despite initially starting a degree in journalism.

“I guess I did always want a career in the media as I entered a journalism degree straight from high school but found it wasn’t the best fit and didn’t finish it!” 

Kyra also took up graphic design while on maternity leave, and an advertisement she designed caught the eye of Tamieka Preston, the owner of Northern Valleys News.

“My love of writing has always persisted and with Northern Valleys News being a small team, I was able to bring both my graphic and writing skills to the table and eventually learn everything else needed to be an editor.” 

“Not the most direct pathway to a media career that’s for sure, but I do still marvel at the serendipitous nature of how I ended up here.”

When asked about what advice she would give to her younger self, she would say to begin working in the media industry a bit faster.

“I guess, ‘drop out of uni and wait twenty years till that job you always wanted falls in your lap’ isn’t particularly productive.”

“I think, ‘just start’, is good advice.”

Northern Valleys News has a keen interest in positive, local stories, and Kyra says that focusing more on positivity is what makes Northern Valleys News so popular. 

“We of course also cover issues that are in the public interest, but our focus on positivity is the foremost reason why people love our newspaper and the number one piece of feedback we receive is, ‘It’s all good news!’”

A recent cover story that Kyra wrote was about a new primary producer and their journey with growing pomegranate, which she says she found surprisingly interesting. 

“I knew very little about the fruit itself, but found the enthusiasm of the grower infectious and ended up taking quite the deep dive into all the health benefits and religious symbolism of the fruit.”

Kyra says that being a natural introvert was a challenge when first starting at Northern Valleys News, especially with networking. 

“I love an in-depth, one-on-one interview with our feature article subjects, but attending larger-scale events, trying to network and asking strangers if I can take their photo all require a major push out of my comfort zone.”

“Also, listening back to your own voice on interview recordings. I really need to look into some voice-to-text software so I can avoid that cringe-fest!”

When asked what her favourite story has been, Kyra says that she rarely looks back on past articles in fear of finding mistakes.

“I know I will find something I could have done better.” 

Kyra’s research process for her articles involves a deep dive into whatever topic she is writing about, such as learning about the technical side of dermatology and sheep to understand the need to breed sheep to create fly-resistant wool, as well as understanding the historical and scientific detail surrounding the conservation of Beermullah Lake. 

“I enjoy taking all of that technical information, getting a grasp on it myself, then figuring out what needs to be included and how to best present that so the general public can get a good understanding of it too.”

One of Kyra’s favourite articles she wrote was a 2021 article highlighting 100 years of women in local government, and bringing together insights from different women around her region was an inspirational experience. 

“I felt proud that we were able to provide a platform for these women to have a voice and I was genuinely interested and engaged in their responses.” 

 

Kyra’s pitching preferences:

 

“I’ve not given much thought to pitching preferences, I think being in community news you never know where a pitch is going to come from – dropping books back the library and someone approaches you with an idea or you might get a phone call at 9am on a Saturday inviting you to come to take a photo at a 100th birthday celebration!”

“My main preference if it is coming from an agency is that it is relevant, and in our area - that they have done their due diligence to make sure we are the organisation they want. Some of our towns share names with ones in the Eastern States and more than once we have gone to attend Gingin School here in WA following a story set up by a PR agency, only to find out that it was Gin Gin School in Queensland.”

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