The Southern Gothic

Micah Bradley ’17—editor-in-chief of The Sandspur—discusses her vision for the paper, the story she’s most proud of, and her obsession with Southern culture and all things news.

(Photo by Scott Cook) (Photo by Scott Cook)

Nashville native Micah Bradley ’17 has love of all things Southern.

From the Southern Gothic writings of Flannery O’Connor—“I see a lot of myself and my family sometimes in O’Connor’s writing; not the dying so much but in the humor”—to the strange happenings that find their way into national headlines, Bradley takes delight in her heritage.

That’s not to say she doesn’t break from the Southern mold. An English major and writing minor, she loves anime (she was the co-president of Rollins anime club; her favorite is Ouran High School Host Club), plays games like Magic the Gathering and Pokémon, and has a second-degree black belt—she got it along with her mom and brother—in Wado-Ryu karate. 

All of these—plus her passion for news and good writing—contribute to what she brings to the role of editor-in-chief at The Sandspur, Florida’s oldest, continuously run student newspaper. She started there the first day of classes as a first-year student at Rollins.

“The first article assignment meeting was that Monday, the first day of school,” she said. “I went in, and I’ve been involved pretty much since that day. I was a freelance writer to start. Then, I was promoted to staff writer during Christmas of my freshmen year. Last semester, I was also a section editor. I’ve done a lot with the paper, and I’m editor this year, obviously. But that’s probably one of my favorite things about Rollins.”

A junior with senior status, she’s also the current treasurer of Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society, and a writing consultant at the Thomas P. Johnson Student Resource Center. She was an intern with Winter With the Writers last semester, and has done internships with Homepage Media Group in Nashville and with WPLN, an NPR affiliate in Nashville.

LJC: Now that you’re editor-in-chief, what’s your vision for The Sandspur?

MB: I really want to focus on the writing of the paper. Particularly our article structure, making sure our articles have good focus; that they’re not just PR announcements; trying to get good headlines, good subheads.

Copyediting is a big deal. We go over the paper really carefully. I’ve always done that but I’m trying to be even more emphatic about our use of words. In the recent past we’ve had at least three or four editors-in-chiefs who came from design-based backgrounds and they’ve done great things for the paper. The paper looks amazing. But we haven’t had an editor who’s from the writing side in a while, so I’m trying to bring that focus to the paper this year.

LJC: What story are you most proud of?

MB: I would say two. When I was at WPLN, I did a story on DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], undocumented immigrants. I interviewed people who had come to the country illegally and were trying to get documentation. That was just a really great story. I worked really hard on that.

At The Sandspur, I would say... I’ve written a lot for The Sandspur. I think I have like 70-something articles, so it’s really hard to think what I would be most proud of. I’m scared to read it now, but I wrote a story on the budget deficit my freshmen year. I was two months in to my first semester here, so I am proud of that—just the fact that I managed to figure out those numbers when I was still very new at this. I had no journalism experience coming into Rollins, so even though it’s probably not as good as I could write it now, I’m still proud of that one.

LJC: What’s the most popular story you’ve run?

MB: I think my most popular article would probably be a piece that I wrote on [President Grant] Cornwell canceling Fox Day. I wrote it as an April Fools’ Day piece, and we ran it in the April Fools section. It was next to an article about aliens landing on Mills Lawn, but people took it extremely seriously. It actually spread on Facebook, and we got all these notes to the editor about Cornwell canceling Fox Day and how angry everyone on campus was. I honestly have not ever seen that much of a response to an article I wrote.

LJC: In addition to The Sandspur, what are you reading? What topics are you interested in?

MB: My roommate calls me a news junkie. I read news a lot. On a normal day, I’ll visit five to 10 different news sites, especially if there’s a certain news topic that’s trending. I'll go to different sites and read about that. Magazines not so much. Mostly, news.

New York Times is really good. I like USA Today sometimes… sometimes. I think it’s good to go to Twitter, go through what’s trending, find what interests me, Google it, and see what that is. Sometimes the stuff that’s the most interesting news isn’t picked up by the Times or USA Today or anything like that.

I think that the recent reports of campus sexual assault being so much higher than it’s actually reported—all of that is very sad, obviously—but it’s something that I follow. One, as a college news editor, and two as a female who lives on a college campus. These are two very relevant things to me.

I like to follow the Black Lives Matter movement. The Kim Davis controversy was very interesting to follow. I’m from the South, I’m from Nashville, so a lot of the things that go on in the South interest me. A lot of crazy stuff happens in the South. Florida in particular. We get some very interesting news, so reading stuff about Florida, about Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama—all of these southern states—sometimes what’s going on down here is very interesting. Not that the north and the west aren’t interesting… It’s just not as close to home as what’s going on here. I guess I just naturally tend to follow southern news a little bit more.

LJC: What keeps you up at night?

MB: My Netflix addiction? Homework a lot of times keeps me up at night. I’m gonna be honest. I have a full course load plus The Sandspur, so a lot of nights I’m up doing a lot of reading or a lot of writing.

LJC: How can students get involved in The Sandspur?

MB: We have article assignment meetings every Monday at 6 p.m. on the fifth floor of Mills Memorial Hall. You can write whenever you want throughout the semester, and you get paid.