Background: Kanalley is an online journalist who works at the Huffington Post. He travelled to Ireland last year to research his Irish ancestry. He lives in Brooklyn.
Tell us about your Irish heritage:
“My last name is Irish. It's usually spelled Kennelly in Ireland. In fact, nearly my entire paternal grandfather's family was Irish. I've been researching my family history for a while now to learn more about my roots and discovered my family comes from several counties across Ireland.”
You took a trip to Ireland last year. What was it like?
“Oh, it was amazing. It was a lifelong dream and I feel so lucky to have had the chance to fulfill it. It was all I expected and much more. The Irish people were so friendly and welcoming. The scenery was magnificent.
“I did get a sense of the economic climate nationwide while there, and that was one of the sadder parts of the trip. There is a real need for jobs and a boost to the economy. But I was impressed by the resolve and determination of the Irish people.
“The biggest highlight of the trip would have to be meeting a distant cousin, Tom Kennelly, in Co. Limerick. I found him after taking a DNA test and he came back a match; we have a common ancestor back around the 1700s according to the results. He was so nice, as was his wife Nora and daughter Margaret.”
What is the biggest challenge of your job as a senior editor at the Huffington Post?
“I love my job and enjoy working at the Huffington Post. It's an inspiring place to be. The biggest challenge would probably be keeping up with the latest trends with social media and in digital media. Along with technology, the field is constantly changing and I need to always keep current as part of my job, even be aware of what's around the corner. I'm always educating myself on the latest changes and industry news, and I can't believe how much has changed even in the three years I've been at HuffPost.”
You were listed in Journalism.co.uk's "100 Twitter accounts every journalism student should follow" in 2012. Do you think that everyone should have a Twitter account?
“That was very nice of them to include me in that list. Since I was a student, I've been an advocate of using Twitter for networking if nothing else. It seriously helped me early in my career find internships and job opportunities.
“I followed people I admired and places I wanted to work, and I engaged with them with re-tweets and replies, and it's amazing how little things like that can put you on people's radar and help you out. It's a very powerful networking tool and even if for no other reason, people should be on for that.”
Interview by Molly Muldoon