Zirconia Alleyne has been named editor of the Kentucky New Era. She assumed the role Friday after serving as the newspaper's features and magazine editor for nearly five years.
Alleyne, 29, is a longtime Hopkinsville resident and 2008 graduate of Hopkinsville High School. Born in Germany to military parents Roger Alleyne and Magaline Ferguson, she relocated to Hopkinsville, her mother's hometown, as a young child and grew up on Durrett Avenue with her parents and older sister, Semone Alleyne.
Alleyne discovered her love for writing in first grade when her poem was published in the Hopkinsville Community College's Round Table literary magazine.
"As a career 'features' girl, it is my goal to make sure that the people of Hopkinsville remain the focal point of our front page," Alleyne said.
After graduating from HHS, Alleyne studied at Western Kentucky University -- one of the nation's prominent journalism schools. While attending WKU, Alleyne served as a reporter, features editor and columnist for the College Heights Herald, the college's nationally recognized and award-winning student newspaper. She was also a staff writer for the Talisman, the school's yearbook publication and semiannual student lifestyle magazine.
After earning her bachelor's degree in journalism, Alleyne joined the Madisonville Messenger as a staff writer through the Kentucky Press Association's intern program. She joined the New Era staff as a community writer in February 2013.
Within one year, she was promoted to special projects coordinator and later features editor, overseeing the newspaper's weekend Faith & Living section and midweek Food page, as well as the company's several magazine titles.
In 2017, Alleyne led the team that reimagined the Christian County Chamber of Commerce's annual publication. The redesigned magazine earned first-place honors in its category at the 2017 Kentucky Press Association's annual awards ceremony. Her work for lifestyle writing and community reporting also garnered top awards in 2013 and 2016.
"Zirconia is the obvious choice to lead this newsroom forward," said Brandon Cox, publisher of the Kentucky New Era. "She is smart, talented and driven to showcase the people and events that make life in the Pennyrile region unique. As a hometown girl, she has an excellent perspective as to what is important to the community that she serves and is excited to tell those stories in the pages of our local newspaper."
Alleyne expects to roll out initiatives to increase community engagement and to build on the prior success of Hopkinsville's oldest continuously operating business -- established in 1869. She also discussed the path forward for a newspaper that recently experienced substantial change after being sold by the family which had operated it for nearly 140 years.
"I am excited to continue learning about every nook and cranny of Christian County, especially the people who call it home," she said. "As we move forward, it is my hope that you will continue allowing us to tell your stories, celebrate your milestones and inform you with your local news."
Zirconia Alleyne can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.