New faces in new places at TGI: Lanaly Cabalo & Keya Keita

Lanaly Cabalo has been named sports editor for The Garden Island.

She has been the lifestyle writer at the newspaper since July 2005.

“This is a good move up for me,” Cabalo said. “It has always interested me because I have been an athlete from a very young age.”

The University of Hawai‘i at Manoa graduate played field hockey, soccer and volleyball, and medaled in track and field.

Cabalo earned her bachelors in journalism from Hawai‘i in May 2001.

After graduation, she worked in public relations for an opera company, production for an ABC television affiliate and as the sports features writer at the Virginian-Pilot in Virginia.

On O‘ahu for her brother’s high school graduation in May 2005, Cabalo stopped by the office of Bev Keever, a friend and her former journalism professor.

“I was telling her how badly I wanted to move to Hawai‘i when (then-editor) Chris Cooke called looking for a writer,” Cabalo said. “I interviewed over the phone right there.”

Not long after, Cabalo accepted the position and moved to Kaua‘i her home in Virginia.

“Lanaly has cultivated relationships in the community over her year and a half here that allows her to be a part of the beat she covers,” said TGI editor Adam Harju. “In her short time as the sports editor, there are already strong indications those relationships are allowing her to offer well-informed content for the sports pages.”

“I think Lanaly is a great addition to our sports department,” publisher Mark Lewis said. “Over the past couple of months, she has assisted Dennis Fujimoto in keeping the sports page engaging to our readers and has made several contacts in the community.”

Her recent soccer coverage has already received accolades from many in the community.

“I like to go out and talk to the coaches and the athletes as much as I can to get the feel of how they are instead of what I see,” Cabalo said. “I want to improve the interaction between us and the local athletes by going out to practices and spending some time with them after the games.”

Cabalo is taking her new role seriously.

“I want to establish myself as a really good female sports editor in such a male-dominated field,” Cabalo said. “I feel there is a lot more pressure and a lot of people looking over my shoulder to make sure I am getting the verbiage or the language right.”

Cabalo is undaunted though, since sports is for her, she says, “Easy and natural.”

Keya Keita has been named features writer for The Garden Island. She comes to the newspaper from Los Angeles, where she worked in documentary film production. Among her most recent works was a film called “Looking for America” that tracked the migration of American culture to other countries. The film took her to 52 countries in four years.

Keita is finalizing her work as production coordinator on a documentary film exploring the macro-root causes of poverty around the world. She moved to Kaua‘i with her boyfriend in October after realizing she didn’t need to be in Los Angeles to continue documentary film work.

“I wanted a change from L.A.,” she said. “I needed the adventure and beauty of somewhere like Kaua‘i.”

Keita has a bachelor’s degree in screen writing from the University of Southern California, a master’s degree in dance choreography from University of California, Los Angeles, and a directing certificate from Harvard University in Massachusetts.

Keya comes to The Garden Island with a wealth of experience that will continue the quality of our Lifestyle page,” said publisher Mark Lewis. “She is a welcomed addition to the paper.”

“I have a personal commitment to the propagation of culture and I think using journalism or the media to support that ongoing effort is vital,” Keita said.

Her passions include performance art, the music scene and the visual arts.

“I want to personally become a friend to this community, particularly the arts and education community,” Keita said. “I want to give a voice to local artists and educators who are trying to weave a cohesive Kaua‘i.”

She also loves flowers. When asked what she wanted to be when she grows up, Keita said, “A florist.”

She calls her mother, Elizabeth Gill Lui, the source for inspiration, a hero. “My mother is a fine-art still photographer with publishing and museum exhibition career.”

“Almost immediately after Keya joined the editorial staff at The Garden Island, her immense talent and abilities were quickly in evidence,” said TGI editor Adam Harju. “Her first days with us showed her unique perspective in the stories she wrote and the style and grace with which she approaches her work.”

Keita is a yoga instructor, enjoys hiking and horseback riding, is a certified scuba diver and loves cooking. Human health is one area she feels needs attention.

“Being healthy is important to any community, through diet and exercise,” Keita said.

She is a certified nutritionist and promises to utilize the Food section to prod the community toward healthy ways.

Keita is also the author of several books and plays, and she recently completed her first children’s story.

Her work in the pages of The Garden Island will no doubt come alive under her tenure.

“I have great hope for what we can accomplish with Keya anchoring the Lifestyle section of the newspaper,” Harju said.

Keita is insistent she will give to the community through her work.

“Getting to know the communities cultural past and present is a way to honor and respect a new environment,” she said.

“I value this opportunity greatly and look forward to getting to know the immense talent on Kaua‘i.”

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