An award-winning investigative journalist and Emporia State alum has joined the Committee to Protect Journalists, an international nonprofit based in New York, the organization announced recently.

Sarah Spicer, a 2019 graduate with a dual BA in Spanish and English and minors in journalism and history, has been selected as the nonprofit’s News Editor. The CPJ works to fight for press freedom and defend the rights of journalists around the World.

“I am beyond thrilled to join the Committee to Protect Journalists and help defend the rights of the same reporters we so desperately rely on to protect our personal freedoms,” Spicer said. “Every day, I am grateful for the skills I learned at Emporia State and The Bulletin that helped transform me into the journalist I am today.”

Spicer began as a staff writer for The Bulletin and eventually served several semesters as editor in chief of the student newspaper. Her groundbreaking coverage of a Title IX sexual assault case at ESU earned her first-place honors from the Kansas Press Association for investigative reporting, the “Above and Beyond” award from the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, and the “Liberty Bell” award by the Lyon and Chase County Bar Association.

“I am proud of the work Sarah did as a student journalist at Emporia State and the work she continues to do in her career,” said Max McCoy, Bulletin adviser and Spicer’s former journalism professor. “Sarah was a natural student publications leader and a brilliant student journalist who held power to account. Her fearless pursuit of the truth both inspired and empowered the newspaper staff. She has followed her passion and is making a real difference in the world with her talent and hard work.”

After graduating from ESU, Spicer studied investigative techniques and narrative writing at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, New York. During her time at Columbia, Spicer worked as a student assistant for Columbia Journalism Investigations in partnership with ProPublica, where she investigated dating apps and sexual assault.

Following her graduation with a master’s in investigative reporting from Columbia, Spicer joined the Wichita Eagle in June 2020 as the paper’s climate change reporter and was a Report for America corps member. For the past year, she has also mentored Emporia State journalism students in an internship Program.

A Kansas native, Spicer graduated from Neodesha High School. She recently moved from Wichita to New York City.

Her new duties started last week.

The Committee to Protect Journalists documents and compiles research on press freedom violations, collaborates with heads of state and high-ranking officials and provides life-saving support to journalists working around the world.

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