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As a journalist, Shelley Spillman considers herself a “collector of narratives.”
“It’s not about me. I tell the stories of people and things that impact the community,” she said.
Spillman, who became news editor of The Anderson News Thursday, has worked for 2 years at daily newspapers, primarily covering education and business beats.
The Indianapolis native obtained her bachelor’s degree of journalism at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. After graduation, she became the education reporter for the Frankfort Times in Frankfort, Ind.
“We’re very happy to have found Shelley,” said The Anderson News Publisher Chris Hamilton. “Her experience easily qualified her for this position but her attitude and philosophy about her role as a journalist sealed the deal. We expect her contributions to help lift our news product to another level.”
It was there that Spillman learned a great deal about how daily newspapers operate. She went on to become temporary editor of the paper and had the opportunity to wear every hat in the newsroom.
“It was a heavy responsibility but I learned a lot in a short time,” Spillman said.
Afterwards, she became an education and business reporter at the Glasgow (Ky.) Daily Times. There, she covered five county school districts, local business growth, photography and layout and design. She said she loves that she has a job that enables her to meet all sorts of interesting people.
“I’ve met senators, congressmen and even the cast of A&E’s ‘Duck Dynasty’,” she said. “No two days are the same in journalism. The everyday people I’ve met, such as farmers, are also fascinating. I learn so much from them.”
Of all the stories she’s covered, Spillman said the strangest was a story about prison inmates clogging city sewer lines by flushing down their jumpsuits and whatever else they could get their hands on. Frankfort city officials had a large expenditure of installing a metal grate to catch the items inmates flushed down the toilet.
“A resident near the jail actually found a bright orange prison jump suit coming through their toilet. That’s how they knew this was happening,” she said. “This profession has to be approached with an open mind because you never know what will happen.”
Spillman said her favorite story she ever wrote was about a homeless middle school student who won her school’s spelling bee. Afterwards, the student’s teachers reported an overall improvement in her grades and temperament.
“I got to chronicle this students’ dramatic growth in confidence and as a student,” she said. “It’s was of those moments where I thought ‘This is why I do what I do.’ It was so rewarding for people to enjoy her story. She proved that your circumstances don’t have to dictate your success.”
Spillman moved to the area after her husband took a job in Lexington. She said she’s excited about her new role with The Anderson News.
“I love meeting new people and learning new things,” Spillman. “I’m eager to see what experiences I have at The Anderson News.”