Two Long-Time Reporters Join Weakley County Press Staff


Checklists. People who know me well know that I’m a scribbler of lists. Getting through the day without one is unimaginable. Unlike most people’s lists — filled with daily tasks such as “pay the house payment,” “buy milk” — my lists include those responsibilities as well as self-enhancing obligations, such as drink 96 ounces of water a day, ride my bike, write a handwritten letter, learn one thing new about… .

If I were not a maker of lists, I believe that I would not be able to fulfill my dreams.

Lists reduce the feeling of chaos, decrease the volume of things to remember, provide a visual acknowledgement of accomplishment, and above all, keep me from feeling that I am the human version of my brother’s old Stretch Armstrong toy, which he pulled in every direction imaginable.

The approach to turning “To Do” lists into a positive approach is not my own creation; I learned it from a fellow reporter back at my first newspaper job in eastern North Carolina. In the newspaper business, the news never sleeps so neither do you. Feeling that constant pull of trying to keep abreast of the daily goings on can become overwhelming and defeating. And depressing.

As a result, my fellow reporter friend said that she made sure that she included several things on her list that benefited her on a daily basis as well as things that would help her reach her goals. She wanted to lose weight, which she did. She wanted to be an editor of newspaper out West, which she did. Thanks to her lists.

My lists, thanks to her, helped me to score reporting positions with newspapers in New York and Texas. They also helped me prepare myself for changing careers twice: first as an urban planner for several years at a midsized city in Texas, and then as an academic professor teaching technical writing and political science here at UTM. They have also help me reach goals in health and finances.

When you want something badly enough, but are either afraid or cannot plunge into the venture feet first, lists are the way to go. Set your sites on your goal, then use lists as baby steps for getting there. The important thing is to keep your eye on that carrot on the end of the stick, not the stick itself.

As a kid, I always lacked a sense of community. We moved around a lot so I never had that luxury. As an adult, I continued to have that void so decided to do something about it through my list making. “Today I will bake bread for the neighbor.” “I will write a letter to the mayor with an idea to improve the town.” “I will shop at the farmers market and learn the name of my favorite vendor.” “I will rake my neighbor’s front yard.”

I became active in the community wherever it is that I lived at the time. I befriended my neighbors, learned some history of the town, turned out for local festivals and fundraisers, and volunteered to serve on a committee if there was an empty seat. Before I knew it, I had a stake in the community. Here in Martin, I serve on the city’s Planning Commission. I also pushed for more bike racks around town, and graduated from Martin’s Citizen Policy Academy.

Now, as a part-time reporter for the Weakley County Press, I am back to where I started in my career path. Although I am a seasoned reporter, being at this newspaper reminds me of my cub reporter days and the importance of sharing the experiences I learned then with the people I know now. Most important experience being that it behooves all of us to learn to become a scribbler of lists


Amanda joined the Press in July and covers city government meetings as well as school board meetings. She also writes feature stories and reports on various community events.

Amanda is from Gleason, where she has resided since 1985, graduating from Gleason High School in 1996. After 17 years in the workforce, Amanda began her college career at the University of Tennessee at Martin, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Sociology in 2018 and her Master of Business Administration in 2020. Amanda is currently enrolled at Murray State University in the Doctor of Education program, focusing on Postsecondary Education and Community Leadership.

Amanda’s work history includes leadership positions, such as Director of Operations for a Dallas-based nonprofit organization, Bright Light Volunteers (BLV). BLV’s West Tennessee outreach division serves rural counties in our area, such as Weakley, Obion, Carroll, and Henry. The purpose of BLV is to bring unique educational experiences to rural students through volunteer service abroad. BLV’s partnership with Bethel University provides dual enrollment college courses with online learning as well as experiential learning at volunteer sites in Albania, Cuba, Costa Rica, Ghana, Peru, and Thailand.

As Director of Operations, some of Amanda’s duties included writing quarterly newsletters, updating legal documentation, creating unique social media content, and writing press releases to various news outlets.

Amanda has also been a guest writer for the Pacer and the West Tennessee Democrat Newsletter, when she served as campaign co-manager for U.S. House of Representatives candidate, Gregory Frye in 2016.

Amanda’s strongest qualities are her research abilities and dedication to educating the public. She is excited to serve her community by reporting accurate, unbiased, professional news stories that will serve the public well.

If Amanda isn’t working on a news story or her coursework, you might find her camping with her family in Dover, Tennessee, where they spend many summer weekends. She also enjoys cooking and binge-watching her favorite shows on Netflix.


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