Leturgey wins journalism award

Category:  News
Friday, November 15th, 2019 at 11:50 AM

Sometimes skills just click with people. It could be math, athletics, the arts or another subject. For Edinboro alumna and former executive editor of The Spectator, Tracy Leturgey (formerly Tracy Geibel), it was journalism.

For Leturgey, writing always called to her, and she started on the path to make it a career as early as possible.

“I’ve always been interested in being a journalist. I can’t really remember a time where I wasn’t wanting to be a reporter” she said.

In the 7th grade, Leturgey took action, joining a newspaper staff that went to her school’s PTA members meetings every month. She described the publication as, “very unread, but that’s where I got my start at the end of the day.”

After that experience, “I immediately wanted to be a part of any opportunity to cover a school or community.” She ran with that passion and continued writing in high school, even serving as editor-in-chief of the publication in 11th and 12th grade.

From there, Leturgey went to Edinboro as a first-generation college student for journalism and public relations, beginning in the fall of 2014 and graduating in two years.

She toured many schools, but when she walked into the Edinboro campus media office, she felt “this is where I was meant to be.” While with campus media, she handled the campus life section of The Spectator, eventually moving on to edit the entire paper and to serve as the executive editor.

Leturgey reflected on her time at EU: “Looking back, Edinboro University offered me a lot of opportunities; the teachers, the staff were all incredible [and they] really helped me to hone my skills.”

She continued, saying, “They were able to take my writing to another level, and for that, I’m very appreciative.”

Leturgey was able to get out of her comfort zone while at EU, joining Edinboro Television as one of the general managers and working in the visual medium.

Dr. Ronald Raymond, a professor and advisor in the journalism program, got to know Leturgey throughout her education. He said she was “quiet in class, but was a fantastic student, and it was very evident from early on.”

In her final semester at Edinboro in Fall 2016, she completed an internship at The Butler Eagle (in her hometown), while then graduating. She then moved back to Edinboro and continued writing for The Erie Reader, which she had been contributing to since May 2016, while also writing stories for The Meadville Tribune.

She hoped that one of those would turn into a full-time position, but neither did. She took interviews at other publications and eventually found The Richland Source. She described the Mansfield, Ohio-based newspaper as an “online only newspaper based in a very small town in the middle of Ohio.”

What stood out to her about The Richland Source was its use of “solutions journalism.” She described this as, “Instead of stopping at covering the problem, what Richland Source does really well is take it a step further,” giving solutions to the problems people face.

Her award-winning solutions journalism project, in which she collaborated with coworker Brittany Schock, was called “Rising From Rust.” This series of stories focused on the good things that Mansfield and the surrounding areas are doing.

Leturgey explained the project. When people talk about the Lake Erie area, “you hear about how they once were great.” But then the discussion often turns to the area being abandoned due to the exodus of industry and businesses. The pair did not want this to be the rhetoric about the area.

Instead, they wanted to “highlight some of the good things going on in our town and dive deeper into solutions in regards to that,” according to Leturgey. She added that they took on this project on top of their usual workload for about a year and a half.

Leturgey specifically wrote about Mansfield leaders trying to build a brand for the area, along with other cities that did that. She also wrote about blight resulting from industry leaving, along with how the Ohio Land Banks are trying to fix that by reselling the land to people. Her coworker Schock wrote on subjects such as public art. Leturgey said that both women were very busy, but stories like Rising from Rust, “highlight some of the good things going on to our town and dive deeper into solutions in regards to that subject.”

The project won both women an award for Best Solutions Journalism Project of the Year. Raymond said that he is “not at all surprised” about Leturgey’s career success so far. He said that even in college, “She was a terrific writer and that became evident almost from the first paper I saw come from her.”

Since that award, Leturgey has gone from being one of four reporters at The Richland Source, to about three weeks ago becoming the sole reporter for the sister website, The Ashland Source. Leturgey will help the site grow and will continue to write solution journalism stories that to her are “What I’m passionate about.”

Tags: news

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