Posted tagged ‘Alabama’

Meet a Member: Meredith Cummings

January 16, 2018
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.

Meet a Member: Jane Newton Henry

September 17, 2015

At the NFPW conference this year in Alaska, Jane Newton Henry was taking notes and gathering ideas as she prepares to be the co-chairman of the 2017 NFPW conference in Alabama. This long-time member is a devoted member of the Alabama affiliate and is looking forward to showing off her home state in 2017. Jane and her co-chair, Elaine Hobson Miller, are hard at work to highlight the area’s hospitality and charm. Jane is a dedicated and devoted member of NFPW. Meet this hard working, unique and unbelievable NFPW member I am pleased to call a friend.

Jane Newton Hnery

Jane Newton Henry

Name: Jane Newton Henry

City and State: Leeds, Alabama

Affiliate and any leadership positions:

I have held a variety of leadership positions in Alabama Media Professionals (AMP), including serving as president from 1982 to 1986. I was named AMP’s Communicator of Achievement in 1993. I currently serve as co-chairman for the 2017 NFPW Conference in Birmingham, Ala.

Years a member of NFPW: 34

Tell us a little about you.

I worked in corporate public relations at Alabama Power Co. in Birmingham for 24 years as a writer and editor and later as manager of internal communications and video production. After I retired 10 years ago, I worked as an adjunct instructor at the University of Alabama and at Samford University. I now work as a freelance writer. I am a regular contributor to the magazine “Discover (the Essence of St. Clair County)”. I collaborated with Pat Hall, the Leeds, Ala., city historian, to write ”Leeds,” an Arcadia Press book about the history of Leeds. The book was published in 2012.

In addition to freelancing, I write the blog “MS with a Southern accent” to help educate the public about multiple sclerosis, a medical condition of which we know neither the cause nor cure. After being diagnosed with MS in 1998, I have volunteered with the Alabama chapter of the National MS Society; I raise money to provide services to others with MS and fund research to find a cure. My other interests include belonging to a book club, and volunteering in my community.

Any career advice you would give?

Learn how to write well and fast. Choose a career path that you love. Work hard, but balance work with your home life. Give back to your community.

Jane Newton Henry, left, with Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas at the NFPW conference in Alaska.

Jane Newton Henry, left, with Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas at the NFPW conference in Alaska.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I would like to be able to make pottery on a pottery wheel.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

The Pacific Northwest.

What book are you reading?

“A God in Ruins” by Kate Atkinson

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

My undergraduate degree is in music (piano).

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I appreciate the friends I have made and the support I receive from others in the state affiliate and national organizations. The professional-development opportunities have been helpful in honing my skills and keeping up with changes in the industry. And I have enjoyed the travel associated with NFPW conferences.

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.

My blog: https://janenhenry.wordpress.com

My website: http://www.janenewtonhenry.com

My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JaneNewtonHenry

Alabama’s Elaine Hobson Miller keeps active writing for magazine and blog

October 14, 2014

Elaine Hobson Miller and the Alabama affiliate were outstanding ambassadors for Birmingham at our NFPW spring board

Elaine Hobson Miller

Elaine Hobson Miller

meeting. It was fun getting to know them better and see the region they call home. Elaine is a dedicated NFPW member you can count on seeing at NFPW meetings. She is outgoing and fun to be around. Meet my friend Elaine.

Name: Elaine Hobson Miller

City and State: Alabama

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Alabama Media Professionals

Years a member of NFPW: Not sure; joined in early 80s, I think.

Tell us a little about you.

I’ve been writing since elementary school, when I did a piece for our little newsletter. While a senior journalism major at Samford University, I landed a part-time job as general assignment reporter for the now-defunct Birmingham Post-Herald. When I graduated, I moved right into a full-time position. A year or two later, I became the first female to cover the city hall beat for the P-H. I was with the paper four years, and returned for a couple of years in the early 1980s to work on the copy desk. Then I became food editor and features writer. When my second child was born in 1982, I quit to do freelancing. I’ve been published in numerous local, regional and national publications, and have two books under my belt. “Myths, Mysteries & Legends of Alabama” was published by Seacoast Publishing (Birmingham) in 1995, while “Nat King Cole: Unforgettable Musician”  (same publisher) came out two or three years ago.

When my husband died in 1996, I took over his drug store and put writing on the back burner. I sold the store in 2012 with the intention of doing more writing and riding. I consider myself semi-retired, but contribute regularly to “Discover the Essence of St. Clair” magazine and I’m having fun doing a weekly blog about farm life and life in general. My farm/ranch/whatever consists of a log house in the middle of 28 wooded acres, where I take care of three horses, two llamas, a goat and dogs and cats. I love to go trail riding and camping with my TWH mare, to travel and to spend time with my two grandsons, who are 2.5 and 7.5 years of age.

Any career advice you would give?

Nope, not really. Writing advice, yes.  Be sure to proofread your work carefully, and for goodness sake, learn the proper use of a comma. Buy a good book on grammar and word usage. Also, learn to write a good lead (lede?) That’s what draws a reader into your article. If the lead is boring, no one will want to read any further.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I wish I could play the fiddle.

Elaine_and_critters

Elaine Hobson Miller

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Right where I am!

What book are you reading?

Two that I picked up from The Hub bookstore at the recent Greenville conference: “I Love Me A Turkey Butt Samwich: Finding a Farm Life After Hollywood,” by Pam Stone, and “Stephen King On Writing,” by Stephen King.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Not much. I’m an open book. The few things that might surprise folks can’t be mentioned here!

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

When I was doing more writing, AMP helped me stay connected with other freelancers and to hone my skills. Now, it’s more of a social outlet, although I really enjoy steering the communications contest. I value the friendships I’ve made and the travel experiences I’ve had through NFPW.

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.

Go to countrylife-elaine.blogspot.com to follow my blog…PLEASE!