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Maddie Kasper: Honors Student, Editor in Chief, and Washington Post Publisher

| Katie Murphy

Maddie Kasper, a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UWEC), has incredible talent and passion for journalism. The Rice Lake, WI native came to college thinking she would focus on political science, but added a second major, journalism, after realizing she didn’t want to be a politician. She says the ability to “write and learn about politics… and let people know important stuff that’s going on” is what drew her to the field.

Maddie is an honors student, the Editor in Chief at The Spectator, and an Ann Devroy Memorial Fellow, through which she secured a fellowship at The Washington Post in January 2024.

The Spectator
Maddie joinedThe Spectator, UWEC’s official student newspaper, in spring 2022 to learn more about journalism. She started as a Staff Writer and moved up through 3 editing positions before being promoted to Editor in Chief. Maddie runs staff and story budgeting meetings, creates the newspaper layout, and acts as a main correspondent for anyone with stories or inquiries. She is also the final person to approve publications for the paper.

Maddie Kasper Headshot

Maddie says, “college newspapers are where a lot of print journalists get their start.” It has been rewarding for her to help other writers develop their own skills and interest in journalism.

One of her favorite articles to write was “Life ‘Here on Lake Hallie’,” which features honors professor Patti See. Although she loves political writing, she said it’s fulfilling to really get to know another’s story in person-centered writing.

College papers provide opportunities to not only improve skills in journalism, but to make connections with other people in the industry. Maddie encourages anyone with an interest in journalism to reach out to The Spectator; they are always looking for more staff writers and photographers.

Ann Devroy Memorial Fellow
Ann Devroy was a UWEC journalism graduate and White House Correspondent for 8 years at The Washington Post. A memorial fund was created in her honor by her family and Washington Post colleagues. Ann Devroy fellows are awarded a scholarship and a 3-week fellowship at The Washington Post.

Kasper Washington Post

As a fellow, Maddie worked with the Democracy Editor, Griff Witte, to write a story called, "Some college students find it harder to vote under new Republican laws.” Though she started her research on a national level, it shifted to focus on interesting changes in Ohio.

Maddie says, “I thought it was funny that I went from Wisconsin to D.C. to write about Ohio.”

There were a few challenges she had to overcome, like finding contacts for stories on a national level, but Witte helped her along th

e way. She states he was “willing to take the time to help me improve as a journalist and a storyteller.” This and the valuable feedback she received on her writing were great benefits of the fellowship.

Maddie says the newsroom at The Washington Post is tight knit and helpful, which made her feel supported

during her time there. She also found it inspiring to be surrounded by world-class journalists and to hear how they interact with sources and talk about their stories. She says this fellowship was the biggest accomplishment of her undergraduate journey so far.

Honors and Writing
Navigating college can be a scary thing for many students, but Maddie says HNRS 100, the freshman seminar for honors students, made her feel more comfortable. The lesson on scholarship writing was particularly impactful for her and aided her scholarship success.

The honors class “Your Story’s in the Details: Writing Creative Non-Fiction” with Patti See, is a course Maddie says provided important lessons on narrative writing, something often utilized in journalistic stories. Through this honors course, she was able to develop personal stories and receive feedback that positively influenced her writing.

Future Print Journalist
Though already very accomplished, Maddie has one more year before she graduates. She hopes to find her future self working for a news publication, specifically in print journalism covering politics or state government.