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Tara Kyle, a 2000 Juneau-Douglas High School graduate and valedictorian, recently won a 2008 Webby Award in the student category for a master's degree project she created with teammates Bilal Qureshi and Ahmed Shihab-Eldin.
"I'm really happy with the outcome, although, of course, there is always more we wish we had done," Kyle said.
"Defining Middle Ground: The Next Generation of Muslim New Yorkers," is a new media project that uses video, photos and audio to convey the Muslim New Yorker experience, with a focus on politics, prejudice, integration and insulation, according to the site. To view the project, visit
"My partners and I chose this topic because we believed that, given all the tension between Islam and the West, more attention needed to be focused on the experience of young Muslims in the U.S., who are trying to navigate between both worlds," Kyle said. "For my partners, it was pretty personal, because they are American Muslims. But for me, I've just always been interested in social issues related to religion, and I felt that the Arab and Muslim communities deserved more nuanced news coverage."
In 2004, Kyle earned a Bachelor of History with a minor in religion from Dartmouth College, where she was editor of the school newspaper, The Dartmouth. The daughter of longtime Juneau residents Joe Kyle and Mary Riley, Kyle received her Master in Journalism from Columbia University in 2007.
According to Kyle, the first few months of her project involved numerous trips around New York, meeting people, reporting and shooting video. After that, they spent many late nights at Columbia University designing and programming the site, editing video and writing.
"The most rewarding aspect for me was simply getting to spend a lot of time getting to know people whose life experiences were very different from my own," Kyle said. "In particular, we were really lucky that the staff at an Islamic school in Brooklyn, Al Noor (www.alnoorschool.com/), were kind enough to open their doors and let us talk to their kids."
Kyle now works as a writer and videographer for a start-up online magazine, FLYP Media (www.flypmedia.com).
"I hope to just continue learning to be a better reporter," she said.
Established in 1996, the Webby Award is awarded by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences and seeks to honor excellence on the Internet. The Academy is comprised of 550 members of Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities. The 11th annual Webby Awards received more than 8,000 entries from more than 60 countries and all 50 states. It generated more than 750 million media impressions worldwide.