2016-10-27 / Front Page

Journal Tribune names two new editors for sports department

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By LIZ GOTTHELF
Staff Writer

BIDDEFORD — Newly named Associate Sport Editor Alex Sponseller and new Assistant Sports Editor Taylor Morrison are bringing enthusiasm and fresh ideas to the sports department.

Sponseller started at the Journal Tribune a year ago as a sports writer. Previously, he had been freelancing at different publications in Massachusetts after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English, with a concentration in journalism, from Worcester State University in 2015.

Originally from Massachusetts, Sponseller said he vacationed in Old Orchard Beach with his family when he was younger and has always liked the York County area.

“People in this area are very passionate about sports, especially high school and college,” said Sponseller. “It’s a great community.” He said it’s a good feeling to help the community by providing information to local fans.

“I’ve always loved sports,” said Sponseller, who played youth baseball and high school football.

Morrison came to the Journal Tribune Oct. 7 after spending three months in advertising at The Citizen in Laconia, New Hampshire, which is no longer operating. Prior to that, she worked as a legal assistant. Morrison started out as a professional writing major at Champlain College, but after hearing her professors talk about the recession and the struggle for newspapers to survive in the then current economy, she switched majors and graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy.

Morrison has always enjoyed writing, and is excited to come full-circle to work in the sports department.

Morrison grew up in Vermont and has fond memories of vacationing with her family in Wells and loves the beauty of coastal Maine.

She said she’s enjoying learning about the local sports teams. “I like the traditional rivalries ... there’s a big emphasis on respect for the other team,” she said.

Morrison said she’s enjoying learning more about the local communities and it’s nice to see the enthusiasm local students have for sports.

“I love seeing the kids try so hard. It inspires me,” she said .

Morrison played volleyball and lacrosse in high school and in college played on a pick-up dodgeball team. She loves spending time outdoors, and enjoys swimming.

Morrison and Sponseller said they have plans to broaden the scope of the coverage to include stories on fish and game, hunting, and other sports and outdoor recreational activities.

Morrison is encouraged that the paper survived the recession her professors warned her about and is looking forward to, along with Sponseller, focusing on increasing the online presence of the sports department and adding video content.

“Alex Sponseller is a genuine fan of all sports and that’s an important aspect of his new role of leading the sports department,” said Ed Pierce, Journal Tribune executive editor. “He’s enthusiastic about great storytelling and promoting athletic performance, regardless of age of level of competition.”

Pierce said Sponseller is a perfect fit for the position of associate sports editor because he’s flexible and objective.

“He’s a fan of local athletics and understands what is needed to give readers insight into their area teams,” Pierce said. “I believe he’s going to give the community information about their teams not available anywhere else.”

Pierce said Morrison has tremendous potential in journalism and will quickly become a reader favorite with her coverage of local sports.

“She brings a unique perspective to our sports pages,” he said. “Taylor is a former high school athlete herself that has a gift for relating what she sees on the playing field and making it relevant for anyone reading her articles. She’s a talented writer that I expect will explore sports that typically have not been covered extensively before, such as surfing, youth sports and community sports.”

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or egotthelf@journaltribune.com.

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