On any given day, the founding member of a theatre ensemble - a true center-stage storyteller - is just one of the people weaving the thousands of stories produced by the Life Sites into the fabric of the Region. She is a telling example of the varied artistic backgrounds that make up the small but mighty Good News editorial team.
You’ve probably seen Kayla Belec, contributing editor at Ideas in Motion Media, covering events out in the community. But the larger part of her job on the core editorial team is to edit content, process it onto our four websites, edit photos, and engage on our social networks. It all sounds like serious business - and it is - but Belec has a funny streak. Hilarious, actually.
One of my favorite social posts she created was a picture of a stately, bearded, but slightly disheveled Abraham Lincoln on his birthday, calling for a shout out for America’s “original hipster.” She is quick-witted with one-liners that bust up the newsroom at just the right time, and it’s an absolute joy.
Belec, a Region native from Hobart, has a theater and creative writing degree from Valparaiso University. She enjoys writing and editing for the Life Sites as a career, but also writes plays and has dabbled in writing sketch comedy for fun. Belec is a founding ensemble member and content writer for The Impostors Theatre Company in Chicago - a group that aims to generate discussion in meaningful, lasting ways, not just with sharp impact.
That sounds a little familiar to us here at the Life Sites. Very similar, in fact, to an entrepreneurial news agency that focuses on delivering only positive news.
“My initial draw to Ideas in Motion Media was the good news aspect. I’ve always been interested in journalism, and I wanted to start writing professionally. Here, we investigate stories and dig into the truth, but on the positive, lighter side of it,” Belec said.
You know when someone asks you that question: What would you tell your younger self? For me, it would be to be more like Belec. Early in her career, she has managed to align herself with work that connects to her core values. I believe that’s one of the reasons she is such a joy in the newsroom, and this very concept is grounding her and setting her up for future success.
I enjoy watching Belec draw from her theater experience to fine-tune the craft of writing, editing, and social creativity at the Life Sites.
“A couple of things from my theater experience help me here,” Belec reflected. “One - I’m perceptive. I can feel when something has run its course, and that helps me with interviews, and when I’m working a room to cover an event. Two - when you’re in the theater, and you’re rehearsing, you have to stop, focus, and wait for people to react. You have to respond to cues, and know when to continue or take a break.”
Those are some handy skills to have in a fast-paced newsroom that engages more than 67,000 people on social networks, and that has produced more than 65,000 stories with 500,000 photos in 4,000 galleries over the last 10 years.
Belec said writing about people in a positive way brings her the most satisfaction. She refects on the heartfelt story she wrote about Porter County’s Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) when they celebrated adoption day for children. She thinks about when the city of Hammond dedicated a street to a former Mayor. In all of it, she’s been able to grow personally.
“Interacting with people - I used to feel uncomfortable in professional, more reserved settings. But now, I can speak to Region dignitaries and cover emotional topics with confidence, and I feel a lot more comfortable.”
The world is Belec’s theater, and she’s definitely taking center stage with everything she tackles.
Connect with Kayla Belec’s Lifesite content by visiting our Contributors pages here:
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