CELEBRATING AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN IN MEDIA
Editor in Chief Donnell Suggs Talks Balancing Work/Life Flow
(Pictured Left: Donnell Suggs with his family)
As we all know, journalism is a busy industry. Pair that with being a parent, Donnell Suggs is constantly on the move. As the Editor in Chief of The Atlanta Voice, reporter at The Gainesville Times, and father of two, busy doesn’t even begin to describe his day. It’s the love for his family, career, and community that fuels him to do all that he does.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Suggs grew up reading the daily newspaper with his father every morning. His father loved the sports section and taught Suggs how to read and everything he needed to know about sports. With their close bond, Suggs also learned how to hustle and talk to people.
As an undergraduate at the New York City College of Technology, Suggs was encouraged to write for the college newspaper where he could expound on his writing and carry his love of sports with him. The newspaper didn’t have a sports or music section so Suggs was welcomed with the opportunity to cover both of those sections and began to learn the journalism industry in a more hands-on fashion.
“The more I wrote, the more I learned,” says Suggs. “But my learning came from literally walking up to people and saying ‘Hi, my name is Donnell Suggs and I’m a reporter for the New Tech Times. Can I ask you a question?’”
After graduating college and interning at VIBE Magazine, Suggs moved to Atlanta in 2006 and immediately came to The Atlanta Voice for a writing opportunity. There, he met former Editor in Chief Dennis Byron, Jr., pitched a story to him on the spot and was hired on the spot. It was that gracious opportunity that opened the doors for Suggs to begin his career as a journalist in Atlanta.
Suggs has been featured in Atlanta Daily World, WABE, Atlanta Magazine, The Atlanta Business Chronicle and so many other publications throughout Georgia and he’s still aiming for more.
“Read other people, you’re not the best in the world…,” says Suggs. “I’m still reading people. I’m still chasing other bylines trying to get something out of everybody.”
Thanks to Black media professionals in Atlanta, Suggs received help along the way and was assured that it was okay to ask for help. In the journalism field, where Black professionals don’t even make up ten percent of the population, it’s important to build those connections and a community you can trust that wants to see you grow and prosper. It is equally as important to lend that hand back when the opportunity presents itself and Suggs ensures to give back to his community in any way possible.
Balancing life and career can be taxing at times, but Suggs has his wife, Chia, and his children, Kayla and Chase, to keep him grounded. Out of all his jobs, being a father is the hardest yet most rewarding job he has ever had. Kayla has recently graduated high school and will continue her education at the University of South Carolina at Beaufort, studying journalism and African American studies, largely inspired by Suggs. Chase loves to write, as well, but has his eyes set on becoming an architect and even has the opportunity to attend a STEM program at the Georgia Institute of Technology this summer. During the school year, Suggs volunteered to serve in the lunchroom at Chase’s school to strengthen that bond between him and his son.
The responsibility of a father falls further outside of the parameters of providing shelter and income. It is now about providing a sense of security for your family. For Suggs, that meant making the necessary decisions and career moves to ensure security and stability for the family that looks up to and looks to him.
Suggs is doing a phenomenal job balancing all his roles and responsibilities as reporter, Editor in Chief, mentor, son, father and husband and we send him a special salute during the upcoming Father’s Day holiday. Follow Suggs on Twitter @suggswriter.
Journalist and Entrepreneur Tyrik Wynn Breaks Barriers One Year After College
(Pictured Left: Tyrik Wynn)
Once releasing the book “Green Is the Thing: Money Management for Kids,” co-author Tyrik Wynn was interviewed by local newsrooms, radio shows and podcasts. The interviews helped Wynn envision the career he has today as an on-air talent.
“The book pretty much got everything jumpstarted,” he explained. “I started reaching out to various news and television stations, seeking for mentorship from my favorite anchors.”
At the age of 14, Wynn was able to shadow several anchors, which only solidified his love for the media. He created a YouTube channel, “Tyrik on the Move,” to help polish his skillset too. The channel provided exposure for local businesses and events. In fact, Wynn’s first paid media job came from reporting an authors’ event for YouTube.
Wynn pivoted the show and began interviewing celebrities as well. From Vivica Fox to Vice President Kamala Harris, he developed a well-rounded show. With the support of his parents, Wynn founded Wynn Productions LLC in 2018. Through the company, he continued reporting and assisted with commercial production for other businesses.
When asked how he managed all this by age 18, Wynn acknowledged his parents. “It definitely pays to have good parents and a good support system. We are a team. They are the people I can talk to about anything. From business decisions to life decisions. It’s been great.”
His enrollment at Georgia State University expanded his skillset even more, which directly benefited his business. Wynn learned how to write scripts, learned how to edit, learned about broadcast reporting in school and by participating in campus outlets, like Panther Report News. Wynn is opening his own studio in Fayetteville this June, making him the youngest studio owner in metro Atlanta.
Since his graduation, he has been hired for two journalism positions: an on-air journalist for the TV-ONE series “Fatal Attraction” and a news anchor for iHeartMedia. Both roles have presented challenges and successful moments, all of which Wynn is grateful for.
“Being a part of “Fatal Attraction” is crazy because crime and blood freaks me out,” he explained. “But it has definitely helped me develop my skillset as a more serious journalist and when I walk in it’s just a breath of fresh air.”
Within only one-year post-graduation, Wynn’s career is developing every day. Nonetheless, he is still hopeful about the future. He hopes to continue these two roles while managing his company. He has new goals for all three endeavors including getting original productions on national T.V. and maybe even obtaining a primetime show on TV-ONE. Through everything, his ultimate goal is to keep making himself, his parents and God proud.
The approach of graduation season led to Wynn leaving some advice for undergraduate students looking for media jobs. He encouraged them to enjoy the moment before getting into the workforce and to start working on portfolios and reels as early as possible.
“It’s an exciting time so have your graduation, then have a celebration with your family and friends. Just put your reel out and people will start to contact you,” he said.
To keep up with Wynn’s next chapter, follow him on Instagram @TyrikWynn.iHeartMedia.
This issue of the Byline was edited by Tianna Faulkner, Vice President of Print for the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists.