Published on The Daily Femme – Friday, March 25, 2011
Initiative Radio’s Angela McKenzie (left) with Kayce Freed Jennings (right) at the 2011 Peter Jennings Project for Journalists & the Constitution, March 4-6, 2011
Contributed by Annamarya
When I first met Kayce Freed Jennings at the 2011 Peter Jennings Project for Journalists & the Constitution earlier this month, I was stuffing my face with breakfast.
It was the second morning of the fellowship and I was sitting with three other Jennings Project fellows, Nicole, Angur, and Angela of Initiative Radio with Angela McKenzie in the back of the National Constitution Center’s Delegates Cafe. We were chewing bagels, drinking our pick of tea, coffee and/or orange juice, and talking amongst ourselves (re: I was obnoxiously rambling) when Kayce walked over and politely asked to sit. With a cool voice, we said, “Of course,” but inside, I was freaking out. I mean, it’s Kayce Freed Jennings, award-winning producer, and co-founding executive vice president of The Documentary Group, which produced docu-projects “Babyland,” and “10×10: Educate Girls, Change the World.” She won two Peabodys for her work on the harrowing documentaries, “To Iraq and Back: Bob Woodruff Reports,” and “Out of Control: AIDS in Black America.” She was a trailblazing producer on the revolutionary World News Tonight with Peter Jennings series, “The American Agenda,” focusing on social policy issues. She produced for 20/20 and Day One. She is a deep humanitarian, working with Women in Need (on the board of which she serves), Teach for America, The Coalition for the Homeless, and the National Constitution Center. Her 30 years in journalism are absolutely impressive. How could I not be excited to meet her?
What admittedly struck me about Kaycee, who is also wife of the late veteran journalist Peter Jennings, was her strength. While her voice was quiet, and her presence soft, she spoke with such command that I was terribly humbled in her presence. What’s more, she was wholly genuine in her interest in our thoughts, engaging us in a philosophical conversation about tattoos and the Constitution–a focus in my Jennings Project application, which she said she remembered. Speaking to other fellows, it turns out that Kayce remembered their applications as well. I was floored. She was dedicated to us as much as we were to the project.
So, in honor of Women’s History Month, I recommend listening to her interview with Angela McKenzie for Initiative Radio. She discusses her work with The Documentary Group and Women in Need, sustaining her long, amazing career, and all the outstanding newswomen who have blazed the pathway.
For a special Women’s Music History bonus, check out McKenzie’s in-depth biography on legend R&B songstress Tina Turner. It’s a fascinating piece of oral history set to a blazing soundtrack. Enjoy!
ABOUT INITIATIVE RADIO: “Initiative Radio with Angela McKenzie features for profits, non-profits, individuals of repute & the not-so-famous who are professionally & personally obligated to making a difference in the community and the world at large.”