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Times-Journal welcomes new reporter

Caleb R. Johnson joined the Selma Times-Journal news staff in December after being recruited by Boone Newspapers at a job fair at the University of Alabama, where he majored in journalism and minored in art history.

His coverage focus area is education, but Johnson has already proven adept at reporting and writing on anything tossed in his direction.

“We in the newsroom have been impressed by Caleb’s work ethic and how quickly he grasps the idea of a 24-7 news cycle, using the Web and print in tandem,” said editor Leesha Faulkner.

His mentor while at The University of Alabama was Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Rick Bragg. Johnson and Bragg developed a close relationship through their similar rural, north Alabama upbringings.

“I feel like we come from the same place. You can see it in the way we write,” Johnson said. “Rick taught me how to tell stories, which is what journalism is about.”

That sense of place landed Johnson in Selma.

Johnson knew he wanted to move to Selma the minute he drove into town for an interview in late November.

“It’s about as Alabama as you can get,” he said.

Johnson grew up in Arley in the southeast corner of Winston County. He attended Meek High School. His father, Ronnie, is a coal miner, his mother, Debra, is an elementary school teacher and his sister, Savannah, is a student at Meek High.

Johnson said he enjoys living in a small town.

“It’s nice to recognize people when you walk around town,” he said. “It gives you a real sense of home.”

Johnson said he was pleased to discover that despite Selma’s population, there is no shortage of things to write about.

“That’s one thing that brought me here. I knew there wouldn’t be a dull moment,” he said. “I feel lucky to start my career in such an interesting place.”

Johnson’s favorite thing about Selma is his house. He lives in a house that dates back to the 1870s with his orange tabby cat, Stax.

“It’s exactly the kind of place I pictured living before I came here,” he said. “It suits me.”