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Career

Barbara Barrett: Managing Editor of Political Platform Stateline

From Missouri to North Carolina to Michigan, back to North Carolina, and a few states in between; Barbara Barrett has reported and been a copy editor all over the country. But she now lives and works in Maryland as the managing editor for Stateline, a company that covers daily reporting, as well as analyzes trends in state policy. It is also an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trust.

How Barrett finally ended up at Stateline is a story that started at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. While at school, Barrett worked as a copy editor for a student run newspaper on campus and took an internship in the summer at the Tennessean as a copy desk intern.

“I had no idea what that was,” Barrett said. “Stories would come up and we would edit them, come up with headlines and we worked late nights and usually had no weekends off.”

But she said once people saw she had copy editing on her resume, it interested employers, which made it easier to get another job.

After graduating in 1993, Barrett moved back home and worked as the state roving reporter for The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina.

She was then offered a job at the Battle Creek Enquirer in Michigan and worked her way up to becoming the acting copy desk chief. However, while working she experienced pay discrimination when a male was hired to replace her.

She quit after a year and decided to participate in the Hearst writing competition. She ended up winning and went to San Francisco, where one of the judges asked her to come be a copy editor at the Tampa Bay Times.

So in Barrett fashion, she picked up and moved to Florida, becoming a copy editor and page designer.

“Everything was very old school and deadlines were every 15 minutes every night,” Barrett said.

Barrett realized she really wanted to report, so she left Florida and went to work as a reporter and editor for the York Daily Record in Pennsylvania. While working there, she covered crazy crime stories.

But she did not last long in Pennsylvania and moved back to Raleigh, working for the News Observer, and found she was super interested in environmental reporting. Barrett was able to travel around North Carolina and became a state roamer. She would travel and leave for work in the morning and then not come back home for a few days because she was covering stories. One of her stories on Hurricane Floyd was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

After, Barrett decided to explore her political interests and moved to Washington D.C. to cover politics. Around 2010, Barrett became an editor and worked as a national editor at McClatchy’s Washington bureau, where she worked with reporters covering Congress and the federal government for 30 newsrooms around the country. At the time she was the only woman who was a line editor.

However, during all her traveling and various jobs, Barrett had a husband and two children. So last summer she decided she wanted to spend more time with her kids because when she was working for the Trump administration, her nights were very late.

Barrett took a buyout and that is how she ended up working at Stateline. As managing editor she is second in command and puts out stories five days a week.

“It is less exciting but more relaxed,” she said.

Barrett described Stateline as under the radar, but their stories get published all over the country.

Throughout her journalism career- from knowing nothing about what copy editing was, to reporting, and then to becoming a managing editor- Barrett has persevered through instances of discrimination, and has experienced much success.
 

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