Denver Chapter Member: Ali McNally

Ali is a media relations professional at Appliance Factory Outlet in Denver. She was previously a reporter for the legal trade paper Law Week Colorado, where she earned several awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. She is on Twitter: @mcnallyali.

Q&A

What’s your life motto?
“Wherever I am, that’s the place to be.”

Looking back, what did you wish you had known before becoming a journalist?
I have no regrets about my education. But if I were to do it over again, I would have majored in something technical like information sciences, and just worked for my school newspaper.

What advice would they give for up-and-coming journalists?
Have some faith in the job market, and learn as much as you can about the tech sphere. If you still love print, be prepared to live in a small town after college.

Who do you look up to in the news industry as a role model?
Adele Arakawa, anchor on 9News in Denver, because she has a commanding presence and a strong voice. More women should have her confidence.

Why did you decide to become a journalist?
My grandma, Anne McNally, inspired me to get into journalism. A 92-year-old news junkie and semi-cynic, she’s the epitome of a lifelong learner and critical thinker. She constantly shoved books and newspapers at me since I could remember. I couldn’t have a byline without her relentless support of my education and career.

Why is media diversity important to you?
Media diversity, without question, should be an online newsroom’s top priority when building a quality team. While technology makes information more accessible to the everyman, the newsroom itself is not. That being said, diversity should mean more than race. I read some ASNE report that most reporters and editors come from upper-middle-class backgrounds. Newsrooms should also take into consideration other factors, like socioeconomic class, to help tell the story.

What do you love most about being Asian American?
I’m proud of how the Asian American community goes to great lengths to help newcomers like myself. I’m adopted, and only very recently reconnected with my heritage. Tons of people from the AAPI community from all over have reached out to help me realize the Asian side of my identity, and also to help me further my career. It feels like finding long-lost family.

Are there any interesting facts/trivia about your experiences and background?

  1. My grandma, Anne, is second-generation Polish. My comfort food menu consists of traditional Polish and Hungarian dishes like pierogies and chicken paprikash.
  2. I grew up with the radio constantly playing in the house. I can name the song title, artist, album title and release year of most pop songs dating back to 1980.
  3. I keep a running tab of every book I’ve read since sophomore year of college, with the goal to read 1,000. I’m at number 53.