Meet a Member: Meredith Cummings

When you talk about amazing NFPW members, remember the name Meredith Cummings. She just completed a term as president of Alabama Media Professionals. She also spent six months in 2017 traveling 10,000 miles by car to chronicle American Journalism. The University of Alabama named her an Innovation Scholar in Residence so she could chronicle journalism for her #followmylede project. She has written an outstanding blog about her adventures (see link below). She is another unique and unbelievable NFPW member.
Name: Meredith Cummings
 
Meredith Cummings in her office at University of Alabama.

Meredith Cummings in her office at University of Alabama

City and State: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

 
Affiliate and any leadership positions: Alabama Media Professionals, immediate past president of AMP
 
Tell us a little about you.
For over 20 years I’ve worked in print, web, and multimedia reporting. I now teach at the University of Alabama in the Department of Journalism and Creative Media where I supervise production for our WVUA-TV newsroom and coordinate our JCM social media. I am a freelance journalist and immediate past president of the Society of Professional Journalists Alabama Chapter. I currently write for al.com and Medium, among other publications. My passions are the three non profit groups I direct, the National Elementary Schools Press Association as well as the Alabama Scholastic Press Association and the Multicultural Journalism Program. Both groups help K-12 students create better journalism in all of its forms. I have four cats (yes I’m that lady) and one daughter, Isabel, 15. I’m also just realizing that I told you about my cats before my child, so there’s that. 
Any career advice you would give? 
Be open to any possibility. If anyone had told me when I entered college that I would be a journalist, I would have laughed at them, then slapped them silly. I was too shy to talk to strangers and never wanted to be a reporter. Boy, things can change.
 
Which talent would you most like to have? 
I would love to be one of those talented people who can easily speak multiple languages. Sadly, I’ve just never been great at picking up other languages without tons and tons of work and studying.
 
Meredith Cummings with Big Al. Roll Ride, y'all

Meredith Cummings with Big Al. Roll Tide, y’all

If you could live anywhere, where would it be? 

Sweet home, Alabama. I love the South.
 
What book are you reading? 
Barbarian Days is an incredible book about surfing without really being about surfing. (It should be noted that I have no interest in surfing. That’s how good this book is.) It’s written by William Finnegan, a staff writer at The New Yorker, and is possibly one of the most well-written books I’ve ever read. I listened to it on Audible and loved it so much I’m reading it now. His ability to use language is astounding. I’m also reading journalist Ariel Levy’s new book, The Rules Do Not Apply, which is incredible so far.
 
Meredith Cummings with Kermit

Meredith Cummings with Kermit

What would people be surprised to learn about you? 

I love The Muppets (Kermit started as a broadcast reporter, don’t forget.) I can twirl fire batons. I collect PEZ dispensers. I recently completed one of the things I’m most proud of ever: My Follow My Lede Project that took me to newsrooms around the country. I road tripped 10,000 miles to chronicle journalism in America in 2017. Now I need a book publisher. Any takers? 
 
Why are organizations like NFPW important? 
I love NFPW because the members inspire me. I participate in NFPW as well as the Society of Professional Journalists because I meet such talented people who are not afraid to help me learn. I feel comfortable asking them questions (imagine that – a journalist asking questions!) without needing to apologize for my deficiencies. We’re all in it together to help each other learn.
 
Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc. 
I am @merecummings on all social media and blog for al.com as well as Medium.
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