Asking smart questions


Photo by Anthony Washington

Photo by Anthony Washington

I know the importance of asking good questions and really listening to the answers. For over a decade I worked as a producer for public radio programs in Norfolk, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. That frontline journalism experience taught me a lot about interviewing people, learning from them, and telling their stories in innovative ways. It also means I know how to manage people’s expectations and coach less experienced public speakers through live media appearances.

Audience engagement through events is a specialty of mine and I’ve coordinated events ranging from large scale parties for hundreds of conference attendees, to pop-up radio shows recorded in a local diner. Events shouldn’t just tick a box, they should be meaningful opportunities to engage with and build audience. They can also provide opportunities to establish and deepen partnerships with affinity organizations.

I’m also an innovator who is always looking for new ways to accomplish goals and create opportunities for growth and forge partnerships. As a result, I started an event series eventually known as WAMU Books, which provided WAMU staff opportunities to learn to host live events. It also filled a void for local, independent bookstores and allowed the station to meet its audience - existing and new - where they were in their community. Personally, I’ve hosted numerous author interviews and panels with writers including Marlon James, Elizabeth Strout, Alice McDermott, and Gene Luen Yang.

As an outgrowth of my work with authors, I also write reviews of books for The Washington Post and the Washington Independent Review of Books. Some I liked, some I loved, some...I didn’t. In addition, I write a weekly newsletter highlighting author events and other literary happenings in and around the nation's capital called Get Lit D.C. With hundreds of subscribers it fills a void for readers in the region.

Finally, I’m accustomed to change and helping people through it. During my time with The Kojo Nnamdi Show the team relaunched the show as a one hour broadcast with a strictly local focus. And over the course of my tenure at WAMU I was an integral part of the strategic planning process begun by a new GM. As a result, I understand the challenges inherent in change and can coach you and your team through the rough bits with honesty and empathy. Check out my entire résumé here for more detail. And feel free to reach out directly: tayla [dot] burney [at]

A Massachusetts expat, I'm proud to live in the District of Columbia, which is much more interesting and lovelier than most national politicians would lead you to believe. It's been home for eight years now, but home is really wherever my husband, daughter, and dog are.