I am Maria James, and it is my pleasure to introduce myself to you as the new managing editor of the Hyattsville Life & Times.
In October, we received the unfortunate news that our former managing editor, Caroline Selle, made the tough decision to step down from her position. In her farewell editorial, Selle encouraged fellow writers in the community to apply for the vacant position and consider the wonderful opportunity to work with the phenomenal, passionate HL&T staff. I was inspired by her article and since joining the staff I have found her words to be true. The staff has truly welcomed me with open arms. I’m thrilled to take the helm as managing editor and I look forward to meeting you and learning more about the Hyattsville community.
Journalism has always been my first love — even before I officially knew what it was. I was just a young girl who always kept a journal and earned A’s in English class. Writing was as natural to me as breathing. In high school I learned my love of writing could become a career. During my junior year at Ocean Lakes High School, in my hometown of Virginia Beach, Va., I enrolled in a journalism class as an elective, and the class produced the monthly school newspaper. My senior year I earned the title of editor-in-chief and I was later awarded for my efforts. After completing my bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va., I started my career at a small town newspaper in North Carolina called The Daily Advance. I worked there for three years doing everything from taking photos to writing articles on a variety of topics. While I loved my career in journalism, I decided to make the transition into public relations and marketing, which is the work I continue to do today. However, I still wanted to write and explore the world around me with my pen. I continued to freelance write and in more recent years I served as a copy editor for the national online magazine, Hope for Women Magazine.
More personally, I am the youngest daughter of a mother who is a preschool teacher and a father who was a deputy sheriff and church minister in the Pentecostal denomination known as the Church of God in Christ. I have three siblings and I’m the aunt to three boys, one who proudly serves this country in the U.S. Army. After accepting an internship in the Washington, D.C. metro area in 2009, I simultaneously completed my master’s degree in Strategic Public Relations from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., and gradually started making a life for myself. I lived in Upper Marlboro and then D.C. before I officially decided to make Hyattsville my home in 2013.
The motto I live by each day is, “She said she could, so she did.” This mantra encourages me to be unapologetic about my goals and to push forward to transform my dreams into reality. Working with the HL&T is certainly a dream that has become a reality for me . As I learn my new role, I also plan to spend time learning about our readers and the community. I am excited to meet you all. Please send your story ideas, questions or concerns to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.