Alum returns to talk reporting

December 2022 graduate Sophia Buckley-Clemont visits Prof. Dave Blows Intro. to Journalism class.

On Sept. 13, Sophia Buckley-Clement visited Professor Dave Blow’s Intro to Journalism class to discuss her job as the education reporter at the Rutland Herald.   

After listening to her speak, many would be surprised to learn that she is only 23 years old, having graduated from Castleton in December of 2022.  

Originally from Maine, Buckley-Clement initially came to Castleton as a music major, but after taking one journalism class she said she was “sucked in.” 

She said she was immersed in music throughout high school and loved it, but she wanted to be in a profession that challenged her. 

“I didn’t want to be stuck to a certain schedule all the time,” she said.

When asked about what she would have done differently if she could go back to college, she was quick with a response. 

“As cheesy as it might sound, I wish I would’ve joined the Spartan earlier,” she said. 

Because of COVID, Buckley-Clement initially missed out on having the experience of putting the paper together in the same room with her peers. But she would go on to become editor of the paper and was able to get the in-person experience before graduation.

“I threw my heart into the Spartan… working with a skeleton crew because of COVID,” she said. 

Buckley-Clement interned with the Rutland Herald for six months in her senior year and freelanced for the paper after graduation until she was offered a full-time job.

Her first week at the Herald was the week of Election Day, which she described as “crazy but fun.” 

Since February of 2023, she estimates she has written around 170 stories.  

And her days can be unpredictable because she covers the education beat for five school districts.

“There’s some days where I’m everywhere, and other days when I’m in the office and don’t move,” she said laughing.  

And although she is the education beat reporter, Buckley-Clement has also reported on many other stories. At the Herald, the reporters listen to a police scanner, and if they hear anything interesting come up, they follow the story for breaking news. 

The scanner has led to her cover a range of stories including when local kids fell into the falls in Proctor and had to be rescued.

Other days are a little more predictable, like school board meeting nights, she said. 

In her time off, Sophia enjoys rewatching scary movies and shows, like “American Horror Story.” 

“I like to terrify myself after my day has terrified me,” she said with a grin. 

She also discussed how she has learned to get what she needs out of people. When asked about what story was her favorite, Buckley-Clement replied that one of her favorite stories was one of the hardest for her to write. 

The story followed the tension among Castleton faculty who didn’t feel supported enough by the school and administration during merger discussions.

“It clicked that watchdog journalism for me,” Buckley-Clement said.

Blow invited Buckley-Clement to class to give current students a glimpse of what’s possible a few years down the road. He said she was a great leader of the Spartan and worked tirelessly.

“And I was hearing from faculty that her coverage of the merger controversy was as professional or more so than some of the local news outlets, which made me proud,” he said. 


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