By Julia Laude
Communication/Journalism graduate Craig Kanalley (class of 2008) was named the Young Alumnus of the Year for the Buffalo/Niagara Chapter of the Fisher Alumni Association.
Fisher President Dr. Donald Bain with Craig Kanalley at Buffalo Niagara Fisher Alumni Chapter awards dinner.
Kanalley, who now works as social media manager for the Buffalo Sabres, received the honor Oct. 16 at the Buffalo Yacht Club. Other alumni honored that night were Dr. David Bevilacqua, Lifetime Achievement Award, and Dr. Clark Godshall, Outstanding Alumnus of the Year.
After earning his bachelor’s degree from Fisher, Kanalley went on to study and graduate with his master’s degree from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. While at DePaul, he learned a lot about online media because it gave him the opportunity to focus 100 percent on online journalism and social media. He had the opportunity to experiment with blogs, online media, and social media before entering the workforce.
After DePaul University Kanalley was hired at The Huffington Post and served as the Senior Editor, Big News, Live Events Traffic & Trends Editor. His goal when he finished graduate school was to work with a Web-savvy news organization, which came true when he joined The Huffington Post. Writing directly to Arianna Huffington, he had “pitched” a blog called Breaking Tweets that he had begun while still in graduate school. Huffington was interested in Kanalley and what he was doing so they offered him a job.
After working for The Huffington Post for almost four years, Kanalley decided to change jobs and also return to his hometown of Buffalo in taking the job with the Sabres. “The Sabers are my all-time favorite sports team,” he said in an e-mail interview, noting that the moved “allowed me to work in social media, which is my passion.”
Kanalley was notified via email from the Alumni Office at Fisher that he would be receiving the Young Alumnus of the Year Award. He was pleasantly surprised by the nomination and very grateful to be receiving it, “It’s an honor and it’s definitely made me reflect back on my time at St. John Fisher and I’m thankful for that, as it’s made me into who I am today.”
Kanalley’s advice to people who are interested in online journalism is: if you’re passionate about it, go for it. Work hard and chase your dreams even if others say you can’t do it, he said, and put in the hours to become really good at something.