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School of Journalism and New Media
University of Mississippi

Posts Tagged ‘Report for America’

Hitson Reports for America on the rural South for the Montgomery Advertiser

Posted on: September 28th, 2021 by ldrucker

We recently caught up with Hadley Hitson, former Daily Mississippian managing editor, to see where her career has taken her. Hitson, 22, graduated from UM last May earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minors in Spanish and digital media studies.

The Birmingham, Alabama native now resides in Montgomery, Alabama, covering the rural South and Black Belt communities for the Montgomery Advertiser. Her official title is “rural South reporter,” and she is a Report for America Corps member.

Q. Tell me a little about your career path after college and your current job and responsibilities? 

A. Report for America is a national service program that places journalists with local news outlets to cover under-served topics or communities, and after applying to the program while I was a senior at UM, I was matched with the Advertiser. Due to the collapse of local journalism over the past decade, news coverage has become limited in some of the poorest counties in the nation, including many in the Black Belt region. Report for America operates with the goal of filling these gaps in national coverage.

Through the program’s partnership with the Montgomery Advertiser, my job is to examine access to health care, education and other services while providing news coverage for these rural Alabama communities — not just about them.

Hadley Hitson stands in front of the Montgomery Advertiser sign.

Hadley Hitson stands in front of the Montgomery Advertiser sign.

Q. How did the UM School of Journalism and New Media help you prepare for the real world?

A. Apart from the basic skills of learning how to write a lead and structure a compelling article, the UM School of Journalism and New Media taught me how to think like a journalist. Starting my freshman year, my teachers and advisers encouraged me to ask questions beyond the obvious and carefully consider the context in which every story is framed.

I also worked at The Daily Mississippian for all four of my years at UM, which played a huge role in preparing me for the real world. I had a public audience reading my work, and I had very real deadlines to meet. Moreover, the DM showed me everything that a newsroom is about — pitching stories, defending angles and asking for help when you need it.

Q. What are your hopes for the future?

A. My hopes for the future are to continue providing news coverage to communities that need it and emphasizing the importance of Southern voices that often get lost in national media. I’m also looking forward to making UM (and the DM) proud. Hotty Toddy!

Daily Mississippian managing editor selected as one of 61 Report for America corps members

Posted on: April 29th, 2019 by ldrucker

The managing editor of The Daily Mississippian has been selected as one of 61 Report for America corps members who will be placed in 50 local news organizations across the country.

Devna Bose, a senior majoring in print journalism and minoring in English and psychology, is a member of the 2019 Report for America corps. Bose will be reporting for duty at Chalkbeat in New Jersey, a nonprofit news organization with an education focus.

Bose, a Philadelphia, Mississippi native, has been working at The Daily Mississippian since her freshman year as a writer, photographer and lifestyles editor.

“I was surprised when I heard, but I am very excited about the opportunity,” she said. “My parents are both public school teachers, so Chalkbeat was my top choice going into the final rounds of the selection process. I am honored, mostly, to have been chosen to be a part of such an incredible group.”

Bose said Report for America is a nonprofit organization that places talented journalists in community journalism-focused reporting positions all over the country. RFA aims to cover underrepresented areas and issues through concise, accurate, and fair reporting.

“For a year, I will be in Newark, New Jersey, reporting on K-12 education in the area for Chalkbeat, an online media organization,” she said. “I will aim to engage with the community through a service project and balanced writing.”

Bose said her years at The Daily Mississippian have prepared her for the position.

“At the DM, I’ve covered issues from racial reconciliation and administration transparency, and I have had to do so on a short deadline,” she said. “I’ve had to adapt quickly to changing situations and manage my time well.

“My tenure at the DM has allowed me to lead special reports, write compelling news and feature stories, and take complementary photographs. I’ve also gotten to explore print design and manage social media. I’m thrilled to bring all of those things to Chalkbeat when I join their staff next month.”

Report for America is a national service program that places talented emerging journalists into local news organizations to report for one to two years on under-covered issues and communities. The website reports that it is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, addressing an urgent need in American journalism at a time when local news deserts threaten our democracy.

“The reporters, referred to as ‘corps members,’ were chosen after a highly selective national competition that drew nearly 1,000 applications,” the website reads. “Some 70 leading journalists, editors and teachers acted as judges.”

The 2019 corps will begin reporting in June. It includes 50 newly selected journalists and 11 current Report for America corps members who will continue their service for a second year, the website reports.

“The quality of the applicant pool was mind-boggling, and their spirit—the commitment to local journalism as public service—was genuinely inspiring,” said Steven Waldman, co-founder and president of Report for America in the news release.

Corps members will attend intensive training in Houston, Texas in June, followed by the Investigative Reporters and Editors Conference before joining their newsrooms.

Three people were selected for Report for America assignments in Mississippi. They include Alex Watts, who will be reporting for Mississippi Public Broadcasting; and Eric Shelton and Michelle Liu, who will be reporting for Mississippi Today.

To read more about Report for America and the full list of reporters, visit the website here.