SPJ Florida is pleased to announce that the family of the late Molly Turner has chosen Alexandra Avelino to be the recipient of a scholarship in the legendary broadcast reporter’s name.
In its second year, the Molly Turner Broadcast Scholarship was specially created to encourage women to pursue careers in broadcast journalism.
Avelino, a student at the University of Florida, is working towards a Master’s in mass communications after working as a preschool teacher for seven years. Working full time, she has proven to her professors that in just a year she could learn the craft—she has served as the anchor of WUFT since January.
In her scholarship essay, she noted that she was not able to find any successful female broadcast journalists who got their start after the age of 30.
“Perhaps I did not dig deep enough. But should I have to dig so deep to find someone my age getting started in this field? I want to inspire other non-traditional women in journalism, so when another does an online search they don’t feel dispirited or alone, but encouraged because someone has come before them, much like Molly Turner did for women in Florida,” she wrote.
Turner was nicknamed “the first lady of South Florida news” after becoming the first female reporter in the area when she joined WLPG in South Florida in the 1960s. She passed away in 2016 and SPJ Florida created the scholarship in her name with support from her family.
“It is distressing that [Avelino’s] research turned up no TV journalists who started after age 30, made it,” said Lyle Landon, Turner’s daughter. “It is also exciting, because clearly, Alexandra has what it takes to make it in this business today, and for many tomorrows to come. If there is a ‘starting -age’ glass ceiling, she has broken it! She is an inspiration—bravo and good luck!”