Kate Mays, associate producer at Kast Media
Graduation year: 2019
Biography: My name is Kate Mays. I grew up in Lenexa, Kansas, and currently live in Los Angeles, California. I graduated with a B.S.J. in News and Information and a B.A. in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Strategic Communication students might know my mom, Nancy Mays, who teaches Campaigns and other classes.
How did you get your current job? After graduating, I decided Los Angeles was the best place to pursue my dream of working in podcasting. I took the plunge and moved here with no job prospects. For the next year, I worked freelance taking any job in audio I could get. I spent hundreds of hours transcribing interviews, assisted in editing and producing, and most importantly made connections. After gaining enough experience, I was able to land my dream job as associate producer at Kast Media working on The Opportunist podcast (available wherever you listen to podcasts).
What you do in your job and what do you like best about it? As associate producer, I have many different responsibilities and every day is different. I track down potential interviewees, find the best audio clips, help direct voiceover sessions, edit scripts, and lots and lots of research. The Opportunist is a true crime narrative podcast that tells long-form stories of regular people being opportunistic. My favorite part of working on it is the investigative reporting. I love going through archived documents, putting together the pieces of people’s lives, and finding information that wasn’t meant to be found.
How did the J-School prepare you for the workforce? I attribute my research skills to the J-School. I learned about finding reputable sources. A big part of my job is pre-interviewing potential guests, which is something I wouldn’t be able to do without the J-School.
What career advice do you have for journalism students? Network! Networking is one of my least favorite things in the world, but it helped get me to where I am today. Alumni love to help recent grads, especially transplants. Don’t compare yourself to people you graduated with. It can be so discouraging to see your peers landing great jobs right after graduation. Accept that that doesn’t happen to everyone and that’s OK! You’ll get your dream job eventually. In the meantime, say yes to every opportunity, even if it doesn’t line up exactly with your long-term plan.