Jane Hammond is an education reporter for the Daily Press newspaper in Newport News, Virginia. She graduated from Central High School in Macon in 2008 and earned her journalism degree from Mercer University’s College of Liberal Arts in 2015.
Here are five things to know about Hammond:
1. She started out wanting to be a sports reporter.
Hammond said she inherited her love for reading and writing from her parents, Beth and Kenneth Hammond. Her mother retired as the dean of Mercer’s University Library in July, and her father is a retired Mercer English professor and former dean of College of Liberal Arts. By ninth grade, Hammond knew she wanted to go into journalism and set her sights on being a sports reporter.
She wrote sports stories and became sports editor for her high school newspaper. Then, she reported on high school sports for The Telegraph and interned with Georgia Public Broadcasting while she was a Mercer student. She scored an investigative reporting internship at the Atlanta Journal Constitution in the summer of 2015 and became an education reporter at the Daily Press that fall. She primarily covers two urban public school districts and four colleges, and “it’s never a dull moment,” she said.
2. Mercer was the ‘best possible thing’ for her.
“If you’re interested in journalism, Mercer is where you should be,” she said. “You can do print, TV, radio, sports TV. It’s not easy … but it’s worth it. You have to put in the time, but that’s what makes it special. (Mercer) ended up being the best possible thing I could have done for my career and happiness.”
3. She had two radio segments air on NPR.
Hammond took a couple years off from college, and Mercer’s Center for Collaborative Journalism had been created by the time she returned. She was able to take advantage of some unique opportunities that prepared her for her future career. Working with The Telegraph and GPB as part of her college education taught her vital skills and helped her get to where she is today. Radio segments she created with GPB aired on NPR’s newscast and “All Things Considered.”
“I’m not scared of doing anything that the job requires,” she said.
4. She is a contributing author for a book.
Hammond counts her four-part “Resistance and Repercussions” series − detailing desegregation in Newport News and busing practices that continue today − as one of her biggest accomplishments. She’s also proud to have written two chapters for a 2017 Daily Press book, titled The Unknown and Impossible: How a research facility in Virginia mastered the air and conquered space.
Two of her current projects at the Daily Press are covering the Hampton school district’s transition from four high schools to 16 career academies and the new school superintendent in Newport News.
5. She’s in it for the long haul.
“My goal is to be full-time employed in journalism. My husband, who I met at The Telegraph, also works at the Daily Press. We love what we do, and we love what we’re doing for the community. The ultimate goal is to keep working in journalism.”