Meet CCM Co-Chair Summer Fields Hayda

The Center for Community Media (CCM) Advisory Board has chosen two co-chairs — Summer Fields Hayda and Julie Keck — to help manage the center’s efforts to increase media access in Chicago’s Southland.


Summer Fields

Chris Weber, Phoenix Staff Writer

Summer Fields Hayda said that she is honored to have been chosen as co-chair of the Advisory Board for GSU’s new Center for Community Media.

“I am excited because the center will be a place for students to really build a sense of their voices and storytelling abilities and they will be able to use them to serve the southland community,” said Fields Hayda. “I am excited about the opportunity for the center to build a healthy ecosystem for civic engagement and journalism.”

Fields Hayda added that Chicago’s Southland has been underserved for a long time and that media coverage has played a role in that systemic process.

Fields Hayda’s connection to the community runs deep. She grew up in the Richton Park neighborhood and became curious about civic involvement while assisting with political campaigns and witnessing her grandfather’s public service as a mayor for many years.

“I have always felt a connection to where I came from,” said Fields Hayda.

Fields Hayda said that her approach as co-chair of the board is to act as a “shepherd and help tap into the expertise and excitement of people on the board.” She expressed the need for accountability to the goals of the organization and stressed that this was fundamental to a strong foundation.

Fields Hayda’s adult experience is predominantly in the tech world. While studying sociology at the University of Chicago, she developed an interest in diversity discourse, public radio, and the future of the radio industry.

For six years, Fields Hayda worked at a tech company that was focused on how to better engage audiences in journalism. Fields Hayda said that she “was focused on trying to change the mindset that journalists have; that the audience isn’t worth listening to.” She has recently moved to a position with another company and is currently focused on sales and content.

While she has worked to help journalists automate their workflow for most of her career, Fields Hayda does not consider herself a journalist. She calls herself an amateur podcaster with a foot in the journalism world through tech. Fields Hayda’s husband, however, is a journalist who is working to report on the war in Ukraine. Her experience and many relationships in the journalism world add to her unique perspective on media.

Fields Hayda said she is looking forward to all of the many different possibilities that CCM is creating. She is especially looking forward to the GSU First Voice Story Slam that CCM is planning for later this year. Read more about the last story slam here.