On the wall of the Plainsman newsroom is a whiteboard marked with advice for young journalists. Near the bottom is a line that reads, “Take advantage. The Plainsman is big and you can get jobs and work from it.”
Many writers who cover Auburn athletics today got their start at The Plainsman. Nathan King and Caleb Jones are two such professionals in the business.
King is a reporter for AuburnUndercover and 247Sports who serves as a beat writer for the site. He wrote for the Plainsman from 2016-20 and held the sports editor position from 2018-20.
Caleb Jones is currently a writer for AuburnSports.com, a part of Rivals, and was on the Plainsman's sports staff from 2019-22, serving as sports editor from 2021-22.
King and Jones reflected on their time at The Plainsman and how it has affected their careers in sports journalism.
King knew he wanted to be involved with the student newspaper at Auburn since he was a senior in high school. He remembers walking into the Plainsman newsroom during his first week of class and being hooked by the sports section.
“It hooked me immediately,” King said. “I made a lot of great friends there. I just liked it so much. I liked going to games and reporting and doing all that.”
Jones started school in Auburn as a chemical engineering major, but figured out he was not so good at math. About two months into his freshman year, he began exploring a major change when he remembered how much he liked sports.
He talked to a friend who worked for The Plainsman about writing for the sports section, and before he knew it, Jones was writing sports articles for The Plainsman.
“I gained so much experience from writing for the student newspaper,” Jones said. “Writing for the Plainsman gave me that experience, and I learned a lot that could translate into the real workplace.”
For both King and Jones, The Plainsman was the door to many other opportunities in sports writing. It led King to an internship his senior year and Jones to many freelance writing opportunities throughout his college years, eventually leading them both to where they are now.
“There was not anything else that helped me get a job more than The Plainsman,” King said. “I would say it was everything.”
Jones agreed that the experience he gained was immensely beneficial for his professional career.
“I figured the best way for me to build my resume and get that experience was to actually do it. So I wrote for the Plainsman just as much as I could,” Jones said.
When asked about their favorite memories while with The Plainsman, both King and Jones were quick to reminisce on the big sporting moments they each got to cover while attending Auburn.
King fondly remembered the 2019 men's basketball team and its run to the program's first Final Four.
“That was a special feeling. To feel like you are a part of covering a team and being a part of that beat,” King said.
Jones had the chance to go to travel to Penn State for the "White Out" game in 2021.
“You always hear about the White Out,” Jones said. “From covering the game to seeing fans that had traveled there and doing post-game coverage. The whole trip for me was just really memorable.”
King and Jones’s stories are just a couple from the ever-growing network of Plainsman alumni who have found success in the real world. The work and investment from people like King and Jones show what The Plainsman can be: a network that allows student writers to gain experience and connections to be successful in the journalism world.
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Grace Heim is a junior from Enterprise, Alabama, majoring in English Literature. She started with The Plainsman in January 2023.