The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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A letter from the Editor

Whitney Veazey

My name is Emma Tanner, and I am your Flor-Ala editor-in-chief for the 2023-24 school year. I began working at the Flor-Ala in 2021 as an incoming freshman, but I have lived in the Shoals my entire life. In my time at the newspaper, I have held nearly every editorial position, save for A&E and sports editor. 

My vision for the upcoming school year is one of transparency and honesty. I want to publish stories with strong journalistic integrity and ethics. The Flor-Ala has always sought to publish stories as accurately as possible in a timely manner, and I intend to continue that throughout my time here. I, as well as my fellow editors and writers, are proud to be able to serve the greater Shoals community in the way that few get the chance to do.

Our goal is to approach all stories in a neutral and unbiased manner. All stories published — save for letters to the editor, opinions, direct quotes from sources, columns and review pieces — intend to follow through on that goal. We also want to provide students a space to share their opinions in a way that protects their fundamental First Amendment rights. 

As stated in previous letters from the staff, “The Flor-Ala adheres to The First Amendment as well as the guidelines put in place by the College Media Association and the Associated Press.”

Additionally, discrimination and hate speech are forbidden within our staff and publications, and these views do not align with the Flor-Ala’s fundamental purpose and intention. 

The Flor-Ala is a registered student organization and we receive funding from the University of North Alabama, but are not told what to say or publish by any administration at the university. We are an entirely independent publication and do not speak on behalf of the university, unless a story is attributed to a university official or stated in a direct quote. We are not associated with the university’s Media and Public Relations department. Student workers are strictly prohibited from working for both the Flor-Ala and the department of Media and Public Relations. Views of the staff do not reflect on the university or student body. We are students who seek to provide the most accurate stories to the community.

If you have any issues or questions, my inbox is open at [email protected]. Additional concerns or comments can be directed to [email protected]

Onto more personal matters and to know me a bit better: when I first came to UNA, I was a psychology major on a pre-medicine track. Through volunteering with the Flor-Ala, I came to discover that my love for journalism was stronger than my love for psychology (no worries, I still love psychology, it’s just my minor now). Writing has always been a passion for me, and journalism was a way for me to harness that love in a way that helps my community. 

Through my time at the Flor-Ala, I have discovered the value of transparency and people-centric leadership. While I have loved the newspaper, I have experienced a deal of hardships in my tenure. I have experienced three different editors in my time here and learned something from each of them. 

It has been a rollercoaster ride to get here. My freshman year was wonderful, as I discovered my love for something new and exciting. My sophomore year, however, showed me the more vicious inner workings of the organization I loved. I nearly left the newspaper, but was encouraged to stay by my mom and Brooke, who would become the next editor-in-chief. The semester I spent without Brooke at the paper was rough and tumultuous, but I learned what qualities one should not expect in a leader. I have taken the things I learned last fall, both positive and negative, and applied them to the way I lead now. I also gained two new staff members and friends — hey, Trenedy and Whitney! — who are amazing assets to the newspaper. 

I couldn’t imagine a world in which my mentor, Brooke, and the paper were not hand-in-hand, and my anxieties were eased tenfold when she came back last spring. She taught me everything I know about… everything. She leads with patience and humanity, and I am grateful to have someone like her to look up to. I’m sure the entire staff would agree with that fact. She was the calm after the storm we so desperately needed.

While things started off rocky, I learned how to freestyle, because having a template (both literally and metaphorically) for everything you need to do isn’t always an option. Sometimes the biggest successes come from creating something that is completely your own. 

A lot of my own successes would not have been possible without the amazing support system offered to me. My mom is my biggest supporter. I know that may come off as corny, but I am completely unashamed of that fact. When I first started out, and even now, she is the first person to read everything I write. My stories are not good enough to print until her eyes have seen them. My dad is also a supporter of my dreams. He was surprisingly calm when I told him I was ditching my pre-med major to be a journalist for the rest of my life.

My sisters have also always supported my crazy, wild and sometimes impractical dreams. They are the first two people to hear whatever insane story I have to tell. Elliott and Jordan, thank you for being you… and for keeping me in line when things go to my head.

My boyfriend Karl is one of the people who kept me sane last fall. He walked right into the mess and embraced it. I don’t know where I would be without him. Also, thank you for liking my new layouts so much, even if my gushing about them was extremely nerdy and probably somewhat boring.

I hope the upcoming school year is one of positivity and growth for both new and returning students. I am excited to work alongside my amazing staff to make the organization I love even better.

As I have said to both my staff and now to you, we are here to help you. I hope that we can continue to serve you throughout this school year, too. Thank you for reading the Flor-Ala.

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About the Contributors
Emma Tanner
Emma Tanner, Editor-in-Chief
Emma is Editor-in-Chief of the Flor-Ala. She is a senior from Killen, Ala. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in journalism and digital media. She was previously Managing Editor for the spring 2023 semester. She also served as News Editor from Jan. 2022 to Dec. 2022. She was previously a volunteer writer. Her favorite topics to cover are profiles and local news. Tanner has written since her childhood and grew a passion for journalism during high school. Aside from working on the Flor-Ala, she was also a research assistant for a psychological study at UNA and served as CASE ambassador president for the Fall 2022 semester.
Whitney Veazey
Whitney Veazey, Chief Photographer
Whitney is a sophomore from Greenville, Ala. She is working towards a BFA with a concentration in photography. Whitney started at The Flor-Ala in Fall 2022 as a staff writer/photographer and is currently serving as chief photographer.

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