Jackson Free Press Contributing Editor Casey Parks has returned from her journey to Africa with New York Times reporter Nick Kristof. Parks won the reporting trip in May in an essay contest. In a Sept. 26 blog post (available here to TimesSelect subscribers), Parks describes her problems readjusting while doing publicity: "I'm worried some of my experiences will turn into fodder for television programs, radio interviews," she writes. When Al Roker asked if appearing on the Today show was "better than being held up at gunpoint," Parks responded that "both are pretty surreal."

Continue ReadingJFP Writer Returns From Africa, Does Press Junket

Casey Parks, the Jackson Free Press writer who earlier this week won a trip to Africa with New York Times columnist Nick Kristof, told The Columbia Missourian that she hadn't thought she "had a chance" in the contest. During her two-week trip, Parks will write a blog for the Times and create a vlog for mtvU. “I want to learn how to be fearless like [Kristof] is," Parks said.

Continue ReadingParks Wrote Winning Essay ‘in 15 Minutes’

Casey Parks, a former full-time JFP staffer who remains a contributing editor while she attends graduate school at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, triumphed over nearly 4,000 American college and graduate school applicants in the New York Times' "Win a Trip With Nick Kristof" contest. She will have the chance to accompany the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist on a reporting jaunt to Africa this September. Parks' winning essay describes her goal to be a journalist as "a distinct want (it's a thirst and a flame, all at once) ... for the reaching outside of myself, to break people's hearts so adeptly that they move into action."

Continue ReadingJackson Free Press Contributing Editor Wins Trip with Nick Kristof