Where are they now? Kara Bettis Carvalho: Magazine Editor

Dec 07, 2023 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team

It has been said that IEW Structure and Style is critically important to help students impart truth confidently and cogently. IEW graduate Kara Bettis Carvalho is utilizing what she learned by making her mark as a journalist for the magazine Christianity Today. We recently reached out to Kara and discovered how IEW writing prepared her to be a successful freelance writer and editor.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Sure! I was homeschooled K-12. I then went to The King’s College in New York City, where I dove into media studies. I felt as if I had a leg up with my writing assignments because of IEW. I did some freelance writing my senior year. The first year out of college I worked at The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, as a journalist. After a few years I then moved to Boston, Massachusetts, and helped with a news media start-up. Currently I work remotely for Christianity Today.

What is Christianity Today?

Originally, it was a news and thought journal started by Billy Graham. Today it is a global media ministry. The print magazine is where I work as an editor and a writer. There are thirty people on the editorial team. I work with freelance writers mainly; there are only two or three staff writers.

How did your IEW experience help prepare you for your current job?

I attended a co-op where IEW writing was one of the most popular courses. We used the video course available back then [now it is SSS] from seventh grade to eleventh grade. It was through watching Andrew Pudewa and learning from excellent teachers who were passionate about writing that I discovered a love for writing. I will never forget the five-paragraph essay. This has had the greatest impact on my own writing and has helped me to guide others.

How else has IEW helped you in your own freelance writing?

IEW helped me realize the need to identify the big question. Asking myself questions aids in thinking. The dress-ups taught me how to use style well. Interestingly enough, the banned word said is actually encouraged in journalism. Learning the stylistic techniques forced me to dig into vocabulary. Lastly, I find myself taking mental notes—mentally key word outlining. Sometimes I do still key word outline the research and interviews, which aids in identifying main recurring points.

What do you often see in others’ writing from an editor's perspective?

As an editor I see the organization in others’ writing is not very good. It is surprising how many professional writers have trouble organizing their thoughts. IEW taught me that defining topics, restating in the conclusion, and using a thesis statement were basic and so helpful in my career. The five-paragraph essay will teach foundational skills for organizing. This allows me to help guide and coach writers to outline and frame a piece with a thesis.

What advice would you give others who aspire to write, especially for a magazine or journal?

Study the place you want to write for. Do some research on the outlet itself. For example, if a magazine doesn’t use footnotes, don’t use them in your piece. Next, be willing to be edited. It is hardest to edit when someone isn’t willing to be edited. A writer should be willing to experiment and take instruction. Also, a common tendency I see today is that people make sweeping statements without any research or support. Become an expert in the thing you want to write about—know what you have to say and why you are the right person to write about it. Support your ideas, which leads to supporting your thesis. A well-supported thesis will get you far.


As Kara continues to make her mark with her own pieces as well as guiding others, look for her to branch out into free verse poetry and possibly even a book in the future!

by Allyson Heins

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