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Mazie Bryant: Becoming a journalist

By Deanne Winslett

When she was young, Mazie Bryant had a passion for magazines. Cosmo, Vogue and Seventeen were staples in her household, and she dreamed of one day having her name bylined on their glossy pages.

Bryant came to the University as an international relations major in 2010, but she soon found herself drawn back to journalism, a field she said she'd always been attracted to because of her life-long love of magazines and long-form writing. For Bryant, magazines presented the complete journalistic package.

"It's more than just reading something; it's experiencing something," Bryant said.

Bryant worked her way up through The Crimson White, the campus newspaper at The University of Alabama, after joining the organization at the end of her freshman year. Bryant returned as a contributing writer for her sophomore year and was promoted to a staff reporter by the second semester. She assumed the assistant news editor position that following summer and returned to that position for her junior year.

During her time at the paper, Bryant has done a little bit of everything. She's designed pages, reported and written stories, and edited content. Her role in The Crimson White has reaffirmed the value of journalists for her, especially student journalists, she said.

 

"I've always thought students can only do so much, and when you're in journalism it's easy to get cynical. It's easy to feel like what you're doing is pointless, because you hit wall after wall and can't get through," Bryant said. "You want to tell this story and you just don't have all of the pieces and what I've learned this year is that students do have such an important role in society. We have a lot of drive that people sometimes don't see."

She decided to apply for editor-in-chief after being approached by Will Tucker, the 2012-13 editor-in-chief.

"I'd always wanted to be an editor and I'd always wanted to be in a leadership position on the CW, but I thought because I'd gotten a late start it just wasn't in the cards for me," Bryant said. "I thought my timing was off."

Tucker sat Bryant down and strongly encouraged her to apply. Knowing whether or not she was offered the position, she would continue to be dedicated and involved in the paper, she applied, interviewed and was selected as the 2013-14 editor-in-chief.

Though Bryant was studying abroad in Scotland at the time, she hit the ground running and immediately began recruiting and hiring people for newsroom positions, conducting all interviews via Skype while she was overseas. A large part of her job, she said, is human management.

"You have to have a level head and try your hardest to produce this product that you're proud of, and a lot of it is really trusting that you have a great staff," Bryant said.

Bryant attributes her success as an editor to the people who work in her newsroom daily.

"You can tell people what to do all you want, you can try to motivate people, you can try to tell people what to do, but it's not going to work if people aren't receptive. It's not going to work if people don't want to do it themselves," Bryant said. "A lot of my success comes from having a staff that really cares about the newspaper and cares about journalism and the truth and wanting to get that out."

Paul Wright, director of the Office of Student Media, has served as an advisor to Bryant throughout the year. Bryant makes all final decisions in regard to the news organization, but she consults Wright whenever she needs guidance.

Wright said that working with Bryant and witnessing her drive firsthand have been rewarding for him as one of her advisors.

"I think she's courageous," Wright said of Bryant's editorship.

During her term, Bryant has led the paper to win several awards, gaining national attention for The Crimson White. Accomplishing these goals has reaffirmed her career as a journalist, she said.

Bryant's position in Student Media has given her the opportunities to pursue her dreams, she said, as she prepares for her graduation in May.

This story is a part of Student Affairs Highlights, which spotlights students, staff, services and programs that are excelling within the Division of Student Affairs. View more stories at Student Affairs Highlights. Do you have a suggestion for a Student Affairs Highlights story? Email studentaffairs@ua.edu with your idea.