Purple and Gold News

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Avery Dixon, Editor in Chief of Longform Journalism

“I read a book when I was 10 or 11 years old. I was picking up all these books that were super interesting and my mom said “there’s this book you should read.” It’s called Brain on Fire. It’s the story of Susannah Calahan, who’s writing it, she’s writing about this crazy kind of mental illness she got. She was a journalist at the New York Post, and in the first couple of chapters, she was describing the environment there. As soon as I was through chapter three, I was like “I want to be in that room; I want to experience that.” Throughout the whole book, the way she could write and explain things and how detailed she was about all these events that were happening to her...It was just kind of like “I want to be able to write like that. I want to be in that newsroom just like that.” After I read that book I decided, “I think I want to do some variety of journalism.” I was reading the New York Times every day, I still read the New York Times a lot. I try to read the New York Post since she [Susannah Calahan] works there. [She] was my hero for a while and I wanted to be just like her, she seems super cool. During my first year of journalism here at Hickman, I did writing. Last year, I did graphic design for the whole year which was super fun, and I loved it. I was like “Maybe I could go into magazine and do writing and design.” That’s kind of where I’m still at. I’m trying to decide if I want to stick with something on the more writing side or the design end of it. I will probably end up staying in town and going to Mizzou, because the journalism school here is so, so good. That’s the main thing. I want to be able to tell people’s stories in a way that honors them and marks their place in history. I feel like that’s going to be one of the most important things, especially as our free press is basically under attack by this administration. It’s definitely a field where there’s going to be a lot of pressure, but that pressure is something I want to be a part of."

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Avery Dixon