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Q&A with Mail Editor Shelby Atkison

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Shelby Atkison

Editor of the Marshfield Mail

Favorite quote:

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” - C.S. Lewis

Question: What brings you back to the Marshfield Mail?

Stepping away from my hometown newspaper was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my professional life. From the moment I left, I missed it. I missed my people, my little town and my calling. I don’t know where this life will lead me, but the opportunity to serve our community by creating long-lasting records of Webster County as we know it is a calling that I cannot refuse.

Q: What have you been up to since last summer?

The majority of my time since leaving Marshfield has been spent focusing on my personal growth and mental health. Professionally, I served as the Managing Editor of another publication.

Q: How did you find your calling in news?

My interest in news first began at the ripe age of 13 when my father let me help with marshfieldwebtv.com, formerly 65706.info. If you saw me in junior high or high school, outside of my extracurriculars, I most likely had a camera in hand. I loved taking photos, writing stories and being an on-air personality. I realized late in my college career that journalism wasn’t something I was willing to give up and majored in communications, then worked for KTTS before landing a gig at the Mail. I don’t think I found news, I think it found me.

Q: What is the most challenging part of your job?

My first two days back in Marshfield, I was invited to three different events and had several other story ideas. I think the most challenging is that we’re physically not able to cover every single newsworthy thing that happens in our county. My biggest challenge is having one body, but wanting to be everywhere, all at once.

Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?

I had this weird obsession with being a pediatrician, then in college I thought I wanted to be an NFL team doctor. After an internship with two collegiate football programs, I changed my mind quick, fast and in a hurry. Thus came my dive into communications.

Q: How many pets do you have?

I have a herd of Texas Longhorn cattle and a sweet angel puppy named Chip. Since leaving Marshfield, I lost two of my dogs that folks have probably seen around town with me, as well as my donkey. But I like to think they’re in a better place. One thing about me, I would have a whole zoo if I had the time and resources.

Q: What is your guilty pleasure?

Live music. I love going to concerts and I’ve been very fortunate to have artists reach out to me to interview and write about them. However, this isn’t new for me. I attended hundreds of concerts prior to graduating from MHS and hundreds more in college. Last year, I tallied 70 total shows and I don’t even know how many artists/bands. It was a good year.

Q: What is your favorite song?

I can’t say because it changes every single day for me. My favorite songwriters are Bobby Pinson, Rob Williford and Rhett Akins. My favorite song today, is “Help Somebody” by VanZant. I’ll never get over the story behind their band and I’ll always love the line, “If you wanna hear God laugh, tell him your plans.”

Q: What’s the coolest place you’ve ever been?

I went home with a college friend and spent months in Nassau, Bahamas when I was 19. That was my first experience into another culture and I ate it up. I hunted snakes, fished for conch at the bottom of the ocean, had the most incredible cuisine and had the time of my life seeing the labs at Atlantis and interacting with marine life. I would love to go back someday.

Q: What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?

I was born into a very music-oriented family and singing has always been a fantastic outlet for me, though I mainly stick to singing in the car or shower. I recently remade “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum and sent it to one of my musician friends for feedback before I sang it in front of people. The “Wow, I didn’t know you could sing like that!” cracked me up. I should have asked him to let me sing background on his next album.

Q: Name three things on your bucket list.

I would like to be a mother someday, whatever that may look like. I hope to find a true partner and build a life with them. I’d like to see the Amazon rainforest.

Q: What is something that you would want your great-great-grandchildren to know about you or be told about you?

I would want them to know that I made the most of every opportunity that was presented to me and it’s what made me the woman I was. I hope I’m reflected on as a kind, adventurous, brave, honest and borderline too transparent person. I would love to be remembered as the person who took risks, loved hard and fought for what I believed in.

Q: What is a major principle or motto that you live by?

Love one another. Treat others how you want to be treated. YOLO, baby.

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