5 questions with Editor & Publisher honoree Allison Hudson
Allison Hudson, editor of GateHouse weekly Donaldsonville Chief has been named one of the "Top 25 under 35" in the April edition of Editor & Publisher Magazine.
"Each one of these young leaders has what it takes to move their brands forward and guide their newspapers in media companies through journalism's confusing and uncharted territory," says E&P.
E&P asked Allison what the biggest challenge facing her newspaper was.
"Keeping a community feel," she responded. "We try to maintain a balance of feature articles, alternative story formats and interactive activities."
We asked Allison about her background and the recognition.
1. Please tell us a little about yourself, where you are from and how you got into journalism.
I am from New Orleans. I was never interested in journalism growing up. I always wanted to be a lawyer. When I was in the eighth grade, our foreign language teacher quit and classes had to be split up into what was available. I got hoaxed into a journalism class full of seniors, and I cried about it. I thought they would pick on me, but they didn't. Our first assignment my teacher told me I was a very good writer, and from then on out, I was interested in journalism. Throughout high school I participated in the yearbook, newspaper and other summer programs that centered on journalism. I began college at Florida A&M University, but transferred to Xavier University in the fall of 2004. At Xavier, I was on the staff of the newspaper, having held every editor position and finally editor-in-chief my senior year. I also participated in the New York Times Journalism Institute Program while at Xavier. That was the only internship I held. After graduating in May 2008 with a degree in mass communications (with a concentration in print, and a minor in communication studies and Spanish), I told myself I would have a job by August, and one day publisher Glenn Stifflemire called me and asked if I was interested. I met with him, and the rest is history.
2. Tell us a little bit about the community you cover. What are the big issues?
The community I cover is very small and very proud. Everyone here has embraced me, and has taught me numerous things. Coming from New Orleans, only 60 miles down the road, before working here, I had never heard of Donaldsonville. Now that I am here, I take pride in the community I serve. From the elders to the children, everyone knows me and always comes to me with ideas, news and other stories they would like to see. The big issues in the community are that residents are kind of resistant to change. So when I came it wasn't always an embracing atmosphere. I had to earn trust in the community.
3. What is your reaction to being selected to E&P’s '25 under 35?'
My reaction to being named as one of the 25 editors and publishers under 35, I was ecstatic. I am very thankful someone took the time to nominate me and thought I was worthy of being noted, not to mention that the editors of the magazine chose me. I take pride in my career, and it is always an honor and blessing to know someone has noticed what I am doing. When I showed a few people in the community the magazine, they were more excited than I was. I received so many flowers, cards, and emails in such a short period of time. I feel truly blessed. I know me being here at the Donaldsonville Chief was God's will.
4. How has your role as an editor evolved since you started?
My role of editor has evolved so much since I started. When I first started I was not only the editor, but everything in between as well - photographer, reporter, etc. Now I pitch in across the board where I am needed. Being that I am a people person, I am more involved now within the community and schools. I now serve on the board of directors for the Chamber of Commerce, will take over in July as Rotary president, Downtown Development District Promotions Committee, and several volunteer positions at the schools. Now, I am an all-around person, and I love it.
5. What do you see as the future of the news media business?
Being that everything is so readily available, and most news is free, all news will eventually be free and (publishers will) find other ways to gain revenue by adding better advertising rates and promotional deals. Although critics say newspapers are struggling, now is the time for advertisers to spruce up their game because in the future, ads will be our saving grace, along with ready, at-your-fingertips news coverage.