Alex real smile

Alex Zietlow

Journalist: The Herald, a daily newspaper in Rock Hill, S.C. (August 2019 - Present)

Location icon United States

"Professional writers are just amateurs who didn't quit."

The best writers, in my view, do exactly what Richard Bach did with this line: They take a truth or a story that people have heard since the beginning of time — like "hard work and perseverance leads to success" — and they say it in a way that makes it unique. That makes people think. That makes this so-obvious, so-ordinary truth memorable.

This same idea applies to storytelling, I think. The best stories can't be replicated, even if its trope, or its message, can be. I carry this idea through every piece I do. I try to, at least — from my feature stories, to my news stories, to my columns.

Anyway, thanks for reading.


In August 2019, I accepted the role as The (Rock Hill) Herald's sports reporter/editor. As the only full-time sportswriter in the office, I'm tasked with (1) managing stringers for high school sports/Winthrop University sports coverage, (2) organizing all of the content that goes in both the online and daily print publications and (3) writing features, gamers, news stories and really any and everything that intersects with sports in the area — all to ensure that this news outlet remains an integral part of the Tri-County community.

In the summer prior to taking my current station at The Herald, I was a sports intern for The News and Observer, the largest daily paper in North Carolina. There, I was fortunate to write nearly 30 stories on a variety of topics and people — many of which had themes or news pegs that dealt with life outside of sports: whether it be about a UNC football player opening up about his eight-year struggle with depression; or about a U.S. Paralympian from Durham who runs to inspire the next generation of adaptive athletes; or about a fencing coach who, after 52 years at the program's helm, decided he was ready to retire.

I also have experience reporting outside of sports and with other publications. As part of one of my classes for Professor John Robinson, I wrote for a site called UNC Media Hub in the spring semester of my senior year of college. I had several of my stories published by other local media outlets, including The N&O and ABC11.

Before that, I wrote news, enterprise/investigative pieces and sports for UNC's campus community newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel. Among the nearly 100 clips I churned out at the publication, I reported on an instance of blatant administrative inaction; I chronicled a chapter of one of the most special rivalries in sports (UNC vs. Duke men's basketball); and I wrote about how the monuments on UNC's campus point to the University's legacy of slavery.

These stories — and more — are enclosed below.


In May 2019, I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science. I also minored in philosophy, politics and economics (otherwise known as "PPE").


The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald; The (Raleigh, N.C.) News and Observer; UNC Media Hub; The Daily Tar Heel; Carolina Political Review; Durham VOICE; and The Washington Times.

Please feel free to contact me at any time. And again, thanks for reading.

Email: [email protected]


Enterprise and Feature Pieces

'He's there with us': Devastating loss inspires Rock Hill, SC football team

On the morning of Aug. 9, Raseac Myles sat in the South Pointe gym with a blank stare. He heard the hum of the air conditioner and the clicking sound as the double doors opened and closed. Every foot step echoed. Some of Myles' football teammates, spread along the red and grey bleachers, were crying.

The Daily Tar Heel
'Walking on eggshells': Two years later, UNC publishes data from diversity survey

Fitzhugh Brundage, a history professor at UNC, said he's perceived that the University has been playing catch-up for the past six years. "I think this catch-up is partially tied to a risk-averse administration and a political environment in which the chancellor and others must be very concerned that the University will be punished by the state legislature," Brundage said.

UNC Media Hub
A clash of cultures: An immigrant's son searches for his place in America

Story by: Alex Zietlow Video by: Kathryn Macomson Photos by: Callie Williams CARY, North Carolina - Laid out on the fully-reclined driver seat in his 2003 Honda Accord, R.J. Singh took off his sunglasses and rubbed his eyes awake. He was somewhere in Indianapolis at a truck stop, a setting he had grown comfortable with over the...

The Daily Tar Heel
UNC's legacy of slavery doesn't end with Silent Sam

He knew that the slave legacy wouldn't dissolve with the statue's removal. He knows the solution still needs direction. But on Tuesday afternoon, senior Nicho Stevens walked up to the remains of Silent Sam by himself.

Born to run: Durham's Desmond Jackson competes to inspire

U.S. Paralympian Desmond Jackson poses for a portrait in Durham, NC on June 7, 2019. [email protected] When Desmond Jackson charged through the finish line at the 2014 North Carolina indoor track and field state championships, he made history. He'd just run 55 meters at a pace he doesn't care to remember now.

The Daily Tar Heel
All They Need: Robert and Jeremy Kelly give a new meaning to "Carolina Family"

If it's easy to explain, it's not love. *** The sun sank low in the sky. The once-luscious grass lay tattered. Jane and Robert Kelly Sr. had been playing two-on-two soccer with their 10- and 11-year-old sons for hours when they finally made the joint executive decision to call it quits.

5th Fare: More than a tattoo parlor

Just like the skin of the store's customers, the walls inside 5th Fare - one of Durham's newest urban galleries and tattoo parlors - are dressed up with artwork. There's an outlined sketch of a bull with city landmarks filling the animal's body. There are drawings of sheet music with abstract, unidentified monsters in the foreground.

The Daily Tar Heel
Why UNC women's tennis coach Brian Kalbas was a chance worth taking

Not everyone saw the success of UNC women's tennis coach, Brian Kalbas, coming. Since starting at North Carolina in 2003, he's won three ITA National Indoor championships, added another national coach of the year honor and has won four ACC Championships - including three in a row the last three years.

The Daily Tar Heel
Why are graduate students often at the center of campus protests?

Graduate students have been at the helm of campus protests at UNC since the 1960s, from George Vlasits, an anti-Vietnam War protester in the 1960s, to Maya Little, a current UNC graduate student of history who faced Honor Court and criminal charges for staining Silent Sam with red ink and her own blood last April.

News Stories

Clover finishes special season with heartbreaking loss to top-ranked Dorman

Clover hosted Dorman November 22, 2019. Clover's Jaylin Lane runs for a touchdown after catching a pass from Clover quarterback Gabe Carroll. Special to The Herald Head coach Brian Lane burned his final timeout and walked out to his team. His laminated playbook was hanging from his waistband, his headset around his neck.

The Daily Tar Heel
UNC's Michael Carter started his own road to glory on Saturday

"He's a competitor and he's a great player," senior wide receiver Austin Proehl said. "He came in early and he's learned the offense and been competing ever since." Carter - who is actually a 5-foot-9, 195-pound running back, despite what his virtual career suggests - tallied 94 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries in North Carolina's opening game loss to California on Saturday.

The Washington Times
FIRST Global Challenge visas granted to 99% of teams

When preparing to stage the FIRST Global Challenge for teams of teenagers from around the globe, Joe Sestak, the nonprofit's president, estimated in December that up to a third of the entries could face problems getting visas to come to the U.S. Seven months later, 99 percent of the countries have been granted travel visas.

The Daily Tar Heel
Woody Durham, longtime voice of the Tar Heels, dies at 76

Woody Durham, who had served as the radio play-by-play commentator for North Carolina athletics for 40 years, died on Wednesday morning in Chapel Hill. He was 76 years old. The Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association will honor Durham this week at the men's basketball ACC Tournament in Brooklyn

Columns/thought-provoking pieces

Carolina Political Review
Nike's Kaepernick Endorsement Wasn't Surprising

Nike doesn't sell shoes or shirts or socks in its advertisements anymore. It doesn't need to. Today, the multi-billion dollar athletic apparel company sells dreams. It reminds its consumers that athletes, no matter what they've accomplished, are still people.

The Daily Tar Heel
COLUMN: Joel Berry II was taken for granted

So when he took off his jersey in the silent, somber locker room after his disappointing finale as a Tar Heel, I hope he found solace in the fact that his name will hang in the Smith Center rafters after he's gone - that his legacy will be immortalized and appreciated even after he's no longer diving for loose balls; playing through sprained ankles; and shouldering the blame when his team falls and sidestepping the spotlight when his team reaches ultimate glory.

The Daily Tar Heel
COLUMN: Thanks for letting me be myself, DTH

But these shortcomings aren't what stick with me now, as I'm trying to write my last piece for this special publication. Instead, similar to me summing up my entire college experience, what comes immediately to mind are answers too perfect and too easy for them to be fully true.

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