Ever since his freshman year, David Floyd has been reporting the stories of East Tennessee State University.
It was during the spring semester of his first year that he took a position with the East Tennessean student newspaper. Since then, he has held many roles – reporter, arts and entertainment editor, copy chief and news editor – before assuming the role of executive editor this past fall.
Now, he oversees an entire team of editors, reporters and designer and manages the content planning for two, eight-page issues each week.
“As a reporter, it is good to see yourself as a storyteller because that is what you are doing,” Floyd said. “The way to engage a reader is to tell a story.”
A career in telling stories is what Floyd envisioned when he arrived at ETSU in 2013 after graduating from Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport. But it wasn’t necessarily as a journalist.
“Actually, my dream was to be a screenwriter, and majoring in journalism seemed to be the best pathway,” he recalls. “But I’ve invested a lot of time down this road since then, and being a reporter is where I want to continue.”
In addition to working for the East Tennessean, Floyd is also a reporter for the Johnson City Press, a job that started as an internship and turned into a part-time position.
“The experience has done so much in giving me perspective on what to expect when I graduate,” he said. “Working in a newsroom has taught me about how a newspaper functions and what is involved in meeting deadlines. It’s funny…when I first started as a journalism major, I could not imagine being able to write a 600-word story in one day. Now I don’t even think about it.
“In some ways, I wish that all students majoring or minoring in journalism were required to work for the East Tennessean because the experience is so important,” he said.
As Floyd prepares for his final semester as executive editor, he will also be wrapping up his honors thesis project for the Honors College. The project, which will resemble a documentary, will chronicle the efforts of ETSU and Mountain States Health Alliance to establish a prescription drug treatment center in Gray.