Jamie Stockwell, Deputy National Editor of the New York Times, shared both her story and her experiences as a storyteller to a public policy and leadership class at the University of Maryland on Tuesday, March 5, 2019.
Originally from southern Texas, Stockwell received a degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, where she worked at their on-campus publication, the Daily Texan. After graduating, she spent 8 years working at the Washington Post, before heading back to Texas to work in San Antonio.
It was in the newsroom in San Antonio that she credits her learning of how to be an editor, and it was there that she was thrown into coverage of issues such as border security and environmental concerns.
After being in San Antonio for eleven years, Stockwell accepted a position at The New York Times.
"I really admire local newspapers, they're doing a bang-up job," Stockwell said. However, when New York came calling, Stockwell took the call, leading her to where she is today.
Currently, Stockwell serves as the deputy national editor at the Times, and while she has only been there for about 8 months, she is already aspiring to make her mark.
"I have like 25 years left to do this, and that makes me really sad," Stockwell said. As an industry, Stockwell has seen journalism evolve, with its embrace of the digital age bringing new platforms and new challenges to the concept of news reporting.
This evolution has broadened news, making it now accessible to anyone and everyone, making it difficult to remain objective. When asked about this, Stockwell said that the best thing she can do in terms of objectivity is not to let any of her opinions seep into her coverage and to make sure that when gathering information, all sides of the story are considered. Stockwell spoke of the importance of quoting both men and women, liberals and conservatives, and all sides of every spectrum of a story.
When it comes to sources, Stockwell said that the best way to decide whether or not the source is credible to consider what the motives of the source are.
"If your mom says she loves you, check it out," Stockwell said, proving that in the world of journalism, no words can be taken as they are, and all statements, even "I love you's," require thorough investigation.
For the students, Stockwell did offer some advice on how to make it in a newsroom, saying that the number one thing she looks for in an employee is curiosity.
"Work your butt off when you're young," Stockwell said, showing students that in the world of writing stories, a success story for oneself comes through interest, desire, and the drive to always do better, and to always work hard.