Kayla Rivera was in her car when she heard the news: she and hundreds of her CBS46 colleagues nationwide were laid off as part of the network’s adjustment to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was devastating, especially since the parent company had previously assured her station that it wouldn’t be affected.
“I felt like someone ripped my dreams right from me, and I was left with nowhere to go,” said Kayla Rivera, a talented journalist who had been at this position for two years.
But her faith in herself, and more importantly, her faith in God, turned the unfortunate situation into something positive.
“I believe everything happens for a reason,” she said. “God has truly opened doors that no man can close, and I am beyond grateful.”
Today, she’s at Mega Atlanta Radio, which she loves, since it allows her to continue interviewing people and helping listeners make sense of the events of the day. She’s also an Entertainment Reporter for Static Media, which gives her the opportunity to put out articles on all sorts of topics.
A vocation for storytelling
Kayla Rivera grew up in the South Bronx area of New York City, part of a traditional Puerto Rican household where her family and extended family all lived together, including her uncles and grandparents.
There were some rough times while growing up, and it was a tough neighborhood, but she always was surrounded by a loving and supportive family.
“Even though we didn’t have it all at times, we had each other,” she said. “I grew up seeing so many people in my community struggling. So, if I could ever lend a helping hand, I do, whether it’s with money, advice, knowledge, connections, or just helping people elevate and be put in a better situation — I’m always going to be there.”
Kayla Rivera credits her interest in journalism with many afternoons spent watching TV with her grandma.
“Like a typical Hispanic grandmother, we would watch Casa Cerrado first, and then when it was over, we would watch the news for hours,” she said. “Even at seven years old, I loved following news stories, knowing what was going on around me, and the art behind these journalists reporting on major issues. Without knowing it, my grandmother fueled my passion for becoming a journalist, and I am forever grateful for her and that she can witness me fulfilling my dreams today.”
Kayla Rivera loves telling people’s stories. She’s interviewed plenty of entertainers and would someday like to interview Drake.
But what’s especially important in her journalism is telling the stories of people who matter and those who are doing amazing things, especially people of color and Hispanics who don’t always get their voice heard.
“When it comes to my future, I am taking it day-by-day,” she said. “I want to be in God’s will because no one has a greater plan for me. I am working on growing my brand and figuring out my next steps. I am super proud of how far I’ve come, and I’m excited about the future.”
Follow Kayla Rivera on social media @imkaylarivera