Hi, Y’all!

Everyone has a story.

It was those four, seemingly simple words – that I heard for the first time in the basement of the WKU Student Publications building in 2011 during the Xposure Journalism Workshop – that fostered my passion for storytelling.

I’m Lashana Harney, or as most people call me, Shay. And at my core, I am a storyteller.

But I am many other things, too. A writer, PR practitioner, journo, digital producer by trade.

22792421_10210567833813015_193023188120946052_oI am Bluegrass born and raised from the small town of Paris. I’m proud to say I am a first-generation college student, and this December I will graduate with Highest Honors with a bachelor of arts in Public Relations and a minor in Chinese. I am currently the Managing Editor for the College Heights Herald, WKU’s recently-Pacemaker winning, student-run newspaper, and a freelance writer for the BG Monthly. I have previously interned at the Louisville Courier-Journal, part of the USA Today Network and Kentucky’s largest newspaper, Imagewest, WKU’s student-run Ad and PR agency, and the Lexington Herald-Leader, Kentucky’s second largest newspaper.

When I am not working or doing schoolwork, I am either napping, binge-watching my favorite shows, running/hiking a trail, or spending time with my family.

For more information about me, you can view my resume or follow me on Linkedin or Twitter.

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What I do

Write

For 3+ years, I have written several stories for many publications including the College Heights Herald, the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Courier-Journal. I have won awards for two of my stories, lauded for an enterprise story and placing first for best feature story. Beyond the pages of journalism, I have experience writing blog posts, stories for magazines, press releases, and for fun, poetry.

Create

As a Public Relations Coordinator at Imagewest in the spring of 2015, WKU’s student-operated public relations and advertising agency, I focused heavily on content creation and social media management for clients and for in-house.

One fruitful and fun campaign I began and implemented was #MeetImagewest. Each week, we would feature a member of our team on our Instagram account. My team also did a Pro Bono Create-A-Thon for a local nonprofit. For 12 hours overnight, I collaborated on the design and slogan for a billboard, creation of social media posts and audit, website redesign template, press release copy, and a redesign of their logo.

I was also a digital producer for the Courier-Journal in which I collaborated and created content for social media. I’ve learned the importance of vignette-style reporting as I covered Muhammed Ali’s funeral at the C-J as a digital producer, creating and building content from reporters’ tweets and live coverage.

Research

I am a firm believer that it takes a mountain of research to climb the hill to success. I have designed sociological research studies as well as studies intended for public relations campaigns. I have developed surveys, interviewed study participants, compiled and analyzed results, and have used the results to implement a campaign or suggest better practices to an organization.

I also understand the importance of research when it comes to audience engagement. As a digital journalist, I’ve learned, and am still learning, how to engage, build and connect with your audience. And this takes boots-on-the-ground research as well as actually getting out and becoming a part of your community.

Strategize

I have over one year of experience campaign strategy and implementation. I have presented, strategized and implemented campaigns such as Cure Hangry to clients that were grounded in research.

Cure Hangry was a campaign designed for the WKU Food Pantry. The plan was to have #CureHangry ambassadors, which would be partners in the community such as restaurants, that would use our hashtag and have special deals for students so that students could have cheaper meal options.

I’ve implemented and managed social media pages for the Herald and C-J. I’ve used Hootsuite and Buffer and several CMS systems during my strategy process.

Lead

During my time at the College Heights Herald, I have held several leadership positions including News Editor, Digital Editor, Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief. I have also attended a leadership conference in Minnesota, hosted by the College Media Association. My background in communications theory was helpful during roles of leadership over the course of two years.

As Editor-in-Chief of the College Heights Herald, my team and I decided to produce a magazine in addition to our regular twice-weekly publication. The magazine was to commemorate WKU President Gary Ransdell’s 20-year tenure at WKU. We spent countless hours producing this magazine from writing, capturing images, designing, proofreading, and physically inserting our regular issue into the magazine for distribution. My job as Editor-in-Chief was to oversee and supervise as well as proofread every piece of content and the overall production of this special publication. My team also produced a website version of the magazine.

I was a leader during a time when WKU was suing us, massive budget cuts, and yet, we still were named a Pacemaker winner, dubbed the Pulitzer of college journalism.