Friday, October 24, 2014

Misty Maynard

  • Published: October 11th, 2011

Misty by the Cost Guard plane on which she flew over the Arctic while doing research on a story about global warming. Photo provided

A day in the life of a news writer is never dull. No one knows this better than Misty Maynard (2005).

Misty on top of Pillar Mountain in Alaska. Photo provided

Misty inspected the Arctic Circle for cracks on a flight with the U.S. Coast Guard.

She rode in a hot air balloon while covering the Buffalo Trace Balloon Race, which was part of the Tribute for the Troops in Maysville, Ky.

She covered President George W. Bush’s visit to Northern Kentucky University.

“One thing I like about being a reporter is covering all different topics,” Misty said.

Born in Portsmouth, Ohio, Misty had her life planned by the sixth grade. Although her family moved to Kentucky when she was in the fourth grade, she dreamt of attending the Ohio-based Christian university Cedarville and become a writer.

In high school, she started making her dreams a reality when she submitted stories for the town newspaper. Her stories were published weekly, and some even made the front page.

After one year at Cedarville majoring in sociology, she realized Cedarville was not right for her.

“I wasn’t finding my niche at Cedarville,” Misty said.

Misty took a year off to reorganize her plans. Fall was approaching quickly, and she made a last minute decision to apply to Liberty University.

Misty on a snow covered beach in Alaska. Photo provided

“I applied one month before classes started, got in and moved on campus the day before classes started,” Misty said. “It was the perfect atmosphere to blossom.”

Although Misty had been dubbed “shyest” in her high school senior superlatives, she made many friends and was a resident assistant (RA) at Liberty.

While studying print journalism at Liberty, Misty worked five semesters on the Champion staff, including two as assistant news editor.

“Liberty gave me a quality education,” Misty said. “I still find myself referring to things Mrs. Huff taught us in class.”

Misty interned at the Portsmouth Daily Times in Ohio during her junior and senior years.

“They threw me out there — two stories a day,” Misty said. “I worked weekends by myself.”

By the end of the internship, Misty had a portfolio of 200 pieces, including a train crash story and a flash flood story.

After graduating in 2005, Misty started writing news for The Ledger Independent in Maysville, Ky., where she worked for two and a half years.

“I was pretty rapidly recognized as someone who could hold my own,” Misty said.

Within her first year on the job, Misty was sent to cover President George Bush’s visit to Northern Kentucky University.

“I was probably a year or so out of college, and I was extremely excited to have the chance to go,” Misty said. “I loved having to fill out paperwork and get approval for my White House press credentials – to this day I still have the badge I was given to wear that identified me as part of the press.”

While reporting was her main responsibility, online journalism brought a change to the newsroom. Misty said that online journalism had not been as prevalent when she was at Liberty.

In Maysville, writing well was just the tip of the iceberg for a journalist’s skill sets.

“I had just started my Facebook account at the end of college,” Misty said.

The Ledger was just beginning to expand into digital reporting when she arrived. Misty quickly learned to load stories and do other things necessary to keep it updated. Since she began working at the Ledger, there has been more of an emphasis placed on the website and keeping it updated with breaking news.

“I’m very competitive,” she said.

The Ledger caught on quickly, too.

“(They) started putting more of an emphasis on video for stories,” Misty said. “Then they created a Facebook page and a Twitter account.”

From there, she decided to try a change of scene and transferred to Kodiak, Alaska, a small island south of Anchorage.

In Kodiak, Misty wrote for a five-day-a-week newspaper, the Kodiak Daily Mirror.

Misty was hired at the Daily Mirror as a reporter. After writing there for six months, she was promoted to business manager where she worked with advertising and tried to keep circulation high.

While Misty was able to report, she found she was more of a writer than a manager.

“I like (writing) because I interact with more people,” Misty said. “Business is more of a challenge for me.”

In Alaska, Misty covered a story about global warming that gave her the opportunity to fly over the Artic circle with the U.S. Coast Guard.

After a year and six months in Alaska, Misty decided it was time to go back down south.

“It was a really good experience because I got exposed to different stories,” Misty said. “(But) I decided it was cold and dark.”

Misty moved back to Kentucky where her family lives. After three months, the Ledger had an opening and took her back on staff.

One of the many things Misty can appreciate about the Maysville paper is its allowance for faith-based stories.

“We have a very strong faith community,” Misty said. “A lot of my coworkers are Christians.”

Those who are not Christians have expectations for Misty to live up to because of her Christian background.

And Misty holds great expectations for herself.

Misty’s competitive edge helped her win several awards from the Kentucky Press Association (KPA).

In 2006, she won third place for best investigative journalism for a three-part series on campaign finance.

In 2010, she won three awards: second place for spot news coverage for a story on flooding in Lewis County, third place for best ongoing/extended coverage for reporting on a local soldier who died overseas and third place for best investigative story or series about prescription drug abuse.

She continues striving to be the best s what she does.

When Misty is not writing, she enjoys bargain shopping and yard sales.

“I live on a reporter’s salary,” Misty said.

She also loves to read and hang out with her family and her boyfriend of a year and a half, Joe.

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