We are proud to announce the winner of the 2016 SPJ Florida College Scholarship, Cassidy Alexander!
The 21-year-old is a student at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, where she will be graduating in April 2017 with degrees in multimedia journalism and graphic design. She currently serves as the editor-in-chief and publisher of the UNF Spinnaker, where she is responsible for being a team leader and putting out the college’s newspaper for its more than 17,000 readers.
She is also the WordPress editor at One Tank Media, a travel news bureau, and she previously was an intern for the West Volusia Beacon for two summers. She is also the winner of the 2015 Green Eyeshade Award for best columnist.
“A recommendation letter for Cassidy Alexander is difficult to write, for the fear that my words will not do justice to her talent, abilities, and ambition,” wrote Barb Shepherd, Beacon publisher. “[She] gives us veterans of journalism hope that this profession will survive, with its mission intact.”
This summer, Alexander is studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland for a digital sketchbook course, where she is learning to combine digital drawing methods, like using iPads, with traditional mediums, such as sketchbooks and water colors.
When did your foray into journalism begin?
I’ve been interested in journalism since high school, when I became involved in the school newspaper. Prior to that, I was very interested in writing creative nonfiction, and I found journalism was another way for me to explore truth-telling. Additionally, as I became an editor on the paper, I found that it was a field that would allow me to combine my love for visual and written communication.
Tell us about a story you’re especially proud of.
I recently wrote a story for my college media outlet, the Spinnaker, about medical amnesty laws and how they apply to students who are witnesses of drug overdoses. It was titled “To Do The Right Thing” because it was all about the decision that a student has to make: to call for help and risk getting in trouble, or to hope their friend doesn’t suffer anything serious. I hope that it resonated with students who have had to face that decision or who will face it in the future.
What is your dream job?
My dream job is to be publisher of a news magazine that focuses on investigative and long-form pieces. That’s a long way off though, so in the meantime I’d just like to work for a publication that allows me to learn more about investigative writing and utilize my graphic design experience to find new ways of visual storytelling.