Billy Palmer prioritizes a style of journalism that amplifies ignored voices in the Salt Lake community.
Palmer is the co-host, associate producer, and director of civic engagement on the KRCL radio program RadioACTive, a community-oriented show that focuses on giving voice to grassroots activists and community organizers in Salt Lake City.
Palmer, a longtime resident of the Glendale neighborhood in Salt Lake City, has officially been part of the KRCL team since March 2017. Speaking recently to a journalism class at Salt Lake Community College, Palmer noted his experience in community organizing as an important reason why KRCL hired him.
“I gave the show somebody with the ability to reach out to a diverse community,” Palmer said.
Palmer’s community involvement includes a stint on the board of directors for NeighborWorks Salt Lake as well as positions on the Glendale Community Council and Racially Just Utah. These experiences led to him to co-host RadioACTive.
Being a radio host is not a job Palmer thought he would ever do, but the position grew on him as he got more involved.
“It’s fulfilling to be able to turn the microphone around and give it to folks who, quite often, don’t find themselves being able to really discuss issues that they’re working on that they’re so passionate about,” Palmer reflected.
Although Palmer enjoys amplifying the voices of others in the community, he feels his career choice has also shaped who he is for the better.
“What is most surprising is how much this has changed me,” Palmer said. “In some ways, this causes you to dig your heels in on the values that you have because you know you’re in a position where you get to hear both sides.”
Marcie Young Cancio, assistant professor of journalism at SLCC who arranged for Palmer to speak to her class, believes a key part of this benefit is being willing to go through that change in perspective and views.
“Curiosity is the most important thing that you can bring to doing this type of work,” Young Cancio said. “It’s what forces you to ask questions, to think about things differently, to think about why things are the way that they are.”
For both Palmer and Young Cancio, journalism acts as a force capable of bettering a community, pushing both journalists and the public to be more open-minded and curious.