JONESBORO – Malea Hargett, editor of the Arkansas Catholic, returns to Arkansas State University Wednesday, March 15, and Thursday, March 16, for the Dr. Joel Gambill Distinguished Speaker Series.
She will speak to students in the School of Media and Journalism and to those in the religion and philosophy certificate programs about the influence her education had on her career path.
Hargett, a central Arkansas native, attended A-State and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1992.
When she graduated from Arkansas State, she assumed she would be a daily newspaper reporter or editor. Eight months before she graduated, the two largest daily newspapers in the state, the Arkansas Democrat and Arkansas Gazette, merged.
Many reporters and editors in Little Rock moved to smaller dailies in Arkansas, causing a shortage of reporting jobs in central Arkansas. However, she found a job after graduation as an education reporter for the Pine Bluff Commercialwhere she honed her reporting and writing skills.
Two years later, she was hired as the editor of Arkansas Catholic to oversee the weekly newspaper. Over the past two decades, her job duties expanded to include digital communications.
Hargett manages the digital edition, two websites, a twice-monthly newsletter, an annual directory, and four social media platforms. Her team includes four staff members, interns and freelance journalists.
She has earned editorial writing awards from the Catholic Media Association for five of the past seven years and a first-place award in 2018 for news writing.
Outside her work for Arkansas Catholic, she proofreads books for new authors and works with entrepreneurs in four states to manage their communications and marketing projects. She lives in Little Rock with her husband, T.J., an A-State graduate, and their two sons.
The endowed series began in 2008 in honor of Dr. Joel Gambill, who was the first full-time instructor of journalism at A-State where he taught for 44 years. He also served many years as department chair. During his career, Gambill was recognized with the Outstanding Educator Award and the Distinguished Service Award from the Arkansas Press Association.
More than 40 outstanding alumni of the program have returned to A-State to share their insight with current students in the speaker series.