Many graduate from Grady College with countless memories and the skillset to be successful in their careers. For Carrie Gibson (ABJ’ 98) and Chris Stanford (ABJ’94), Grady not only provided the foundation for their journalistic careers but it also was the birthplace of their own love story.
Carrie and Chris met at the Red & Black in the fall of 1994 and dated for a couple of years before losing touch after leaving Athens. Twenty years later after reconnecting in Washington, D.C., they were married on Sept. 6, 2014 under a magnolia tree on North Campus, less than a few hundred feet from where they first met.
While at Grady, Chris and Carrie each majored in journalism with a concentration in newspapers. Although that major concentration no longer exists, learning the basic skills of “how to write, how to tell a story and how to be a reporter,” still plays a crucial role in their careers today. Both credit the late professor Conrad Fink with having an impact on their studies. Therefore, Chris and Carrie each make an annual gift to the Conrad Fink Scholars Fund, a scholarship for undergraduate journalism students.
“I was fortunate enough to study under the legendary Conrad Fink, whose classes taught me so much about the business of journalism, but then there was Fink himself, whose own life and work provided a great deal of inspiration.” Carrie reflected.
“I’m hardly original in saying that Conrad Fink’s classes were the best part of my Grady education,” Chris echoed. “The lessons I learned at Grady and the Red & Black have been the foundation for everything I’ve done since.”
From the classes to the professors, Grady provided the environment for Chris and Carrie to flourish and grow into the successful journalists they are today. They encourage current students to gain practical experiences and to “take advantage of the rich network of Grady alumni.” That’s why they give back to Grady— they want to support the next generation of Grady students.
“If you’re further along the path, you should offer a hand to those behind,” said Chris, who returned to Grady in 2011 to speak to several journalism classes. “Speaking to those who sat where I once did was an extremely gratifying experience, so I always try to share what I’ve learned when someone from Grady contacts me.”
After graduating, Chris worked at the Augusta Chronicle, staying for two years before moving to the Orlando Sentinel and eventually the Washington Post. There he designed pages for the print edition and then the website. Currently, Chris writes the U.S. version of the Morning Briefing, a daily roundup of the New York Times’ coverage and guide to the biggest stories of the day.
Carrie started her journalistic career in London at the Cambridge Evening News before moving to the Guardian where she worked as a copy editor and later deputy editor of the letters page. She currently works as a freelancer writing for various newspapers and websites and is the author of “Empire’s Crossroads” and “El Norte,” a Hispanic history of the U.S. set to be published in 2019.
“My time at Grady was so formative in many ways – it is where I learned how to write and edit, and to think critically about news production and values,” Carrie said. “Today, in such a heated media climate, the college and its mission are more important than ever, and I’m happy to stay involved and give back when I can.”
For more profiles like Chris and Carrie visit the Grady Gratitude page.
Jessica Twine is a public relations specialist for Grady College.