Award-winning journalist Charlie Reed is a new face of UTC as of 2021. With impressive experience in journalism under her belt, she is now a staff writer here at UTC’s Communications and Marketing department.
Reed described her childhood self as a “nosy kid who loved writing and always admired journalism.”
This led her to working on her middle-school and high-school papers, and then she went on to follow her dreams at The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, receiving her Bachelor's degree in Journalism.
After working as an intern through college and receiving her degree, Reed continued her passion at two different companies: her hometown paper, the Osceola News-Gazette in Kissimmee, and Florida and Scripps Howard News Service in Stuart, Florida.
“I love people and I’m genuinely interested in people’s stories,” said Reed. “I want to take complicated things and digest them so that they’re easily understood.”
It is no surprise that in 2007, Reed was hired by Stars and Stripes, which is a “daily American military newspaper reporting on matters concerning the members of the United States Armed Forces and their communities.”
Just three weeks after receiving the exciting phone call that granted Reed her dream job, she picked up her life in Florida and moved overseas to where she’d reside in Germany, England, and Japan within a span of over five years.
“There was a lot of personal and professional excitement,” said Reed. “It was a big learning curve but I was so hungry for it.”
Two years into her work at Stars and Stripes, Reed won the George Polk Award for Military Journalism for a viral story she wrote about a “Pentagon system of rating journalists who were embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan.”
Another one of Reed’s major accomplishments while overseas was her immense writing on Japan’s earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster in 2011. Once the earthquake had hit and everything was unfolding in front of them, Reed’s editor had called her, alerting her that she was being flown to Sendai, Japan. Because of this, she was among the first reporters in the world to get to one of the hearts of destruction.
“There were semi’s standing vertically and fires burning in the background,” said Reed. “It was every picture of the apocalypse you could imagine.”
After a life-time’s worth of experiences overseas, Reed returned to her Florida hometown in 2014 to reconnect with family and start back up at theOsceola News-Gazette. At this time, she was eager to try new things, ranging from freelance work to digital marketing, and even teaching yoga.
In 2021, Reed moved up to Chattanooga Tennessee, which she describes as a “COVID inspired, ‘life is short’ type of decision.”
Reed has family in Chattanooga who helped encourage and influence her decision to move to a city she instantly fell in love with.
This past Thanksgiving, Reed joined UTC as a Staff Writer in the Communications and Marketing department after finding the position online and fitting the qualifications perfectly.
Reed is thrilled to be starting a new chapter, writing at a “beautiful, traditional college around younger generations and hearing new ideas.”
For students wanting to pursue a career in journalism, Reed advises them to “go for it.”
She encourages being open-minded and getting as much experience as possible, whether that be school papers or internships.
“Try to diversify your skills,” said Reed. “It always helps being able to cover different areas.”
She also said to “always be willing to travel and move,” because many big opportunities are unpredictable.
“I’ve always considered journalism a public service,” said Reed. “I like bringing the light to things that need the sunshine.”