Kayla Renie is a photojournalist covering communities of color for the Athens Banner-Herald in Athens, Georgia. Previously, she was a photographer for the Jackson Hole News & Guide in Jackson, Wyoming. Born and raised in the Southeast, Renie was photo editor of The Red & Black, the student-run website and weekly paper at the University of Georgia. Her internships have taken her to Texas and Indiana, where she depicted childhood in rural communities and the pandemic’s initial effect on a county. As an intern for The Muskegon Chronicle in Michigan, she built relationships within the community that enabled her to pursue more in-depth projects, spurring an interest in documenting family and gender dynamics and women’s health issues. Renie’s goal is to use the documenting of everyday moments as a way to help people to better understand what’s going on in their communities and with each other.
Beat: Photojournalism of marginalized communities in and around Athens
This visual journalist focuses on the diverse communities in and around Athens, Ga., that, as in much of America, have long been under-covered by local news organizations. Athens, which is approximately 27% Black and 10% Hispanic, has wrestled with a poverty rate of 27% and many of the issues that are associated with it. The Banner-Herald, in conjunction with the Gannett Georgia group, is creating an Athens Equality Lab to cover issues ranging from the renaming of university buildings to communities of color to LGBTQ issues in rural America to handicap accessibility.