Hope For The Future: Meredith Newman

Meredith Newman is a reporter with USA Today and The News Journal (Delaware). I was fortunate enough to meet her many years ago through a mutual reporter friend, Maddy Goss, at a lovely ladies lunch in Milford, Delaware. I was immediately fond of this spirited woman with big dreams, strong passions, and a deep hope for the future. Here is her story.

Question: How long have you been a reporter / in the news industry?

Meredith: I’ve been a professional reporter since 2015, but I would argue I’ve been in the news industry much longer. I was a full-fledged newspaper nerd in high school, then graduating to an even bigger one in college. I attended Syracuse University and worked late hours at the independent student newspaper The Daily Orange all four years.

Question: Where did you start? What was your first job and what are your memories of the work you did?

Meredith: My first job out of college was at The Capital in Annapolis, Maryland. There are too many memories to possibly describe here. I covered the epitome of local news stuff — chili cookoffs, contentious city council meetings and the pomp and circumstance of the Naval Academy. But what I always think about is the kindness of the newsroom, especially in helping shape young reporters. The folks who worked there (and still today) were dedicated to local news and informing their community. Of course, as many people know, tragedy struck in 2017. I feel very honored to have worked with Wendi Winters, Rob Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman and John McNamara. I think about them every day. (More on The Capital newsroom attack)

Question: Where are you currently working? If freelancing, feel free to give a list of where people can find your articles!

Meredith: I work at Delaware Online/The News Journal, where I’ve been a reporter for nearly six years.

Question: What are some inspiring/funny/embarrassing stories from your time as a journalist?

Meredith: Oy. I have plenty of embarrassing stories. There are still corrections of name misspellings that I cringe at all of these years later. I definitely mispronounced Delaware towns when I first started at The News Journal.

Question: What was your favorite story to cover – or a big event or a breaking story you are most proud of?

Meredith: I’ve had a lot of incredible opportunities at The News Journal. A few years ago, I published a big project on the health care barriers Amish families in Delaware experience. It was a really big project for me at the time, and it took a lot of work to earn the trust of these families. I’m also proud of my coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, which included my weekly interviews with Gov. John Carney. With my coworkers, I think we published a lot of important stories on how Delaware was (and wasn’t) handling the pandemic, particularly vaccine distribution. Finally, I’m proud of my work covering Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. I think I was able to craft a specific lane for myself, focusing on how Delaware influenced Biden’s politics. I attended nearly all of the press conferences held here in Wilmington, and usually asked questions. I also attended the inauguration, which capped off a pretty wild experience.

Question: What do you like to do in your free time? Talk about your family, hobbies, etc., here.

Meredith: If you ever meet me, it probably won’t take too long for me to ask what TV shows you’re watching. I love movies — specifically going to the movies. I listen to an insane amount of podcasts. I’m on Twitter and TikTok far too much. I also really love cooking, drinking wine with friends and trying new restaurants.

Question: What do you think about the state of journalism? What are your hopes and fears for the future of this profession?

Meredith: Oh boy. What a question. There’s a lot one can say here, but I’m going to keep it simple. It’s a tough time to be in the journalism business, there’s no question. But every day, I usually discover a story idea that I can’t wait to report on. There’s so much news here in Delaware. There’s so much good that needs to be highlighted and bad stuff that needs to be exposed.

My hope is that kids in high school (or even younger) still want to pursue journalism as a career, just like I did, and that they can see a future for themselves in it. I hope each day more people realize the value of local journalism and decide to finally subscribe to their local paper. I hope the industry continues to evolve and hold itself accountable. My biggest fear is that communities will become indifferent about the survival of their local paper. We need readers, but readers also need us. Please remember that your local journalist is a person too, who has a lot of stories to write and very little time to do so. We make mistakes. We miss stuff. But we also deeply care.

Learn more here: http://bymeredithnewman.com.

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