Local Black journalists and news anchors Channing Curtis and Sydney Charles share why they chose journalism and Spokane

The Black Lens staff

Channing Curtis

I am a morning News Anchor with KREM 2 News. I think most people are shocked to learn that I never intended to be a news anchor, or to work in news at all. I was working as a sports reporter and play-by-play analyst for women’s basketball while working on my master’s at Boston University when a professor of mine asked me to anchor our presidential election night coverage. It was 2016 and I had no interest in news, but I did like politics, so I agreed to do it. I spent the election night and subsequent days covering Trump’s win and the protests that followed and I’ve worked in news ever since. I’ve always been passionate about storytelling, and I love being able to give people the opportunity to share their experiences. I think we’re at a time in history where everything is so divisive that sometimes we forget that we all have a lot of similarities, in spite of our differences. And that’s the goal of every story I tell, to remind us all that at the end of the day, no matter our color, gender identity, or background, we’re all just people.

I’m a newcomer to Spokane, to Washington and to the entire Northwest, but my goals have always been the same, no matter where I live or the station I work for. If I were to have a motto in life it would be that everyone has a story worth telling. I’ve always been a voracious reader and I love the feeling that you get when you’re truly immersed in a story. That’s why I became a journalist, to share people’s stories, to give a voice to those who are too often silenced and through my storytelling, spark thoughtful conversations with people of differing opinions. Being here in Spokane, where our Black community isn’t always reflected within the major media outlets, it is also important to me to not just tell our stories, but to be another positive figure within our community. Every single day I do my best to show up, represent and be a resource for my people.

Sydney Charles

I am a Breaking News Anchor and Producer at KXLY 4 News Now. I’ve been living in Spokane for nearly two years. My passion for journalism begins with my mom. A fiery, outspoken, extremely intelligent Black woman, she always had a passion for the arts and writing. When she was very young, she fell in love with my father, and her dream of becoming a broadcast journalist was cut short when she became pregnant with me. However, that didn’t stop her from passing her own love of literature and journalism on to me. From a young age, I remember my mom and I would discover hidden worlds, combing through book after book together. We would read short stories, poems and everything in between. Eventually, she helped me bring my own stories to life. I credit her with my love of learning, my appreciation for the written word, and the reason why I’ve chosen a career as a news anchor. When I get ready in the morning, I think of her and the lessons she’s taught me, along with the strength she’s instilled within me.

I decided to move here because it’s not too far from my family in California and I wanted to learn more about producing for a news station. One of my goals is to get connected with local organizations, and attend more events where I can meet with community leaders. I love telling stories and the more connected I get with the community in Spokane, the more I am able to get a pulse on the topics and issues people care about.