TNL alumna spotlight: Suzanna Caldwell

Photos courtesy of Suzanna Caldwell.
Photos courtesy of Suzanna Caldwell.

Whether it’s about the discovery of dinosaur fossils by the Yukon or headless walruses washed up ashore, many Alaskans are used to reading Suzanna Caldwell’s articles in the Alaska Dispatch.

She has crafted her distinct voice through her journalistic experiences, which trace back to the Northern Light — and she hasn’t forgotten that.

“It’s the greatest part of my college experience at UAA. When I graduated, I had a job lined up. I wouldn’t have had that without my experience at TNL,” Caldwell said.

As a journalism major, Caldwell started out as a volunteer for TNL in 2006 and worked her way up. Over a span of four years, she was a reporter, sports editor, managing editor and eventually became the executive editor.

She recalled times when local organizations did not take TNL staff reporters seriously, as if they were kids rather than adults. Caldwell said reporters had to fight that image often.

TNL garnered national recognition, such as the Associated Collegiate Press National Pacemaker award, during her tenure.

When an editor’s name is published in a newspaper, fans come along the way — some good, some just creepy.

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Caldwell recalled a time she had a “creepy stalker” call every number in the office, hunting her down. Then when he found her, the stalker tried to talk her into moving to Nigeria with him.

Looking back, Caldwell laughs about the ordeal.

Today she keeps a steady pulse on news, something she’s been in love with nearly her whole life.

Caldwell’s passion for journalism roots back to her childhood, when she had her first article published in middle school.

“It’s important that we hold people accountable, especially with elected officials. That’s what drives me every day. I love telling stories for people who do not have a voice,” Caldwell said.

As she continues her successful career as a reporter at the Alaska Dispatch, she still holds a torch for TNL and picks up a paper every now and then.

The Northern Light staff June 2008. Photo courtesy of Suzanna Caldwell.
The Northern Light staff June 2008. Photo courtesy of Suzanna Caldwell.



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