Farewell column: News editor Blake Alsup

Posted on Nov 30 2018 - 5:50am by Blake Alsup

My 3 and ½ years at Ole Miss have been full of ups and downs, but The Daily Mississippian has been a constant throughout and a major part of my life this semester as I took on the position of news editor.

I came to Ole Miss as a transfer student in fall 2015, and during my first week of classes, I asked a professor how I could get involved with the DM. She said I should walk over to Bishop Hall after class, so I did. I had no idea where Bishop was and ended up getting lost on Fraternity Row. I eventually found my way there and signed up to be a news writer. I had no idea the Student Media Center would end up being where I spent the majority of my time as an undergraduate.

My first article was about changes to saving spots for tailgating in the Grove — a simple article but a daunting task at the time. I continued to write weekly stories and developed a deep  appreciation for journalism as I witnessed changes that influenced me to switch to journalism after being an Integrated Marketing Communications major for a year.

Photo by Christian Johnson

Since then, I’ve written profiles about professors, students and Oxford community members, covered events and issues like the unveiling of contextualization plaques around campus, Ed Meek’s controversial Facebook post and the backlash that resulted in his name being removed from the School of Journalism and New Media and Chancellor Vitter’s resignation.

The story I’ve been most honored to cover was the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. I stood before civil rights movement leaders, religious speakers and local and national leaders as they recalled stories of King’s life. I stood in silence alongside the thousands present that day as bells tolled at 6:01 p.m. — the exact moment King was shot on that day in 1968.

Working as a news writer and editor has opened up so many doors for me. Using clips of stories I wrote, I was accepted for the New York City Semester of Journalism at The King’s College. Because of that, during the fall 2017 semester, I got to live on Wall Street, take classes and intern at the New York Daily News. Last summer, I was blessed with the opportunity to intern at The Detroit News as part of the Dow Jones News Fund Business Reporting program. I’m not sure what will come next, but I’m confident that my time as a journalism student and an employee at The Daily Mississippian has prepared me for any journalism job I come across.

I’m especially grateful for guidance and advice I’ve received from professors and advisers like Patricia Thompson, R.J. Morgan, Chris Sparks, Bill Rose, Cynthia Joyce, Greg Brock and Rachel West.

Over the past semester, I’ve grown close to all of my coworkers in the newsroom. We’re often at the Student Media Center until 1 a.m., and I’ve spent more time with them than anyone else on campus. From our daily afternoon budget meetings to DM Dinner Club and sitting around writing headlines at the end of the night, the DM editorial staff has become family, and I’m lucky to know them.