UofL’s DIY journalism grad bootstraps her way to Fulbright award

    Rae Hodge, a 2013 graduate, worked with the College of Arts and Sciences to craft a degree in journalism.



    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A 2013 graduate of the University of Louisville has earned a prominent Fulbright Award to study journalism at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom. The competitive placement is awarded to only 3 percent of U.S. Fulbright applicants.

    Rae Hodge will begin a yearlong study at the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies in the fall and take part in the university’s MSc Computational Journalism program, which is designed to prepare early-career journalists to lead data-driven news startups.

    After graduating from Nelson County High School in 2003, Hodge took a six-year hiatus, traveling the country with an educational nonprofit organization. She started classes at Jefferson Community and Technical College in 2009 and transferred to UofL in 2011. She worked with UoL faculty to craft a specialized liberal studies degree in political journalism, believed to be the first of its kind at the school.

    During her time at UofL, Hodge bolstered the student newspaper, The Louisville Cardinal, becoming its first capital correspondent and, later, the paper’s editor. She credits professor Ralph Merkel, communication department, for helping students receive course credit for their work in the newsroom.

    “Everything about my journalism education has been academically unorthodox but wholly traditional to the history of the trade. What read as internships on my resume were actually apprenticeships under Kentucky’s best reporters. I was chasing politicians across the campaign trail, teaching the news pyramid to freshmen writers in the evening and finishing my biology homework from a laptop on the Senate floor,” Hodge said.

    Her experience bridging the divide between government news and outlying communities will remain important during her coming year at Cardiff, where she will focus on developing digital-era strategies to better serve those same communities.

    “I’m grateful for every opportunity I’ve had, this one included, to strengthen my reporting chops through real-world practice,” she said. “But what I’m most excited about with this program is finally slowing down long enough to examine the theory underpinning the practice.”

    Hodge is the granddaughter of Martha Hodge and daughter of William Ray Hodge, both of Taylorsville. She can be reached for interviews at rae.hodge@gmail.com.

    For more information, contact Patricia Condon, UofL director of national and international scholarship opportunities, 502-852-0024.


    Cindy Hess
    Cindy Hess has more than 30 years of experience in communications, marketing and investor relations, including more than a decade at UofL. She is "sort of" retired but happy to come back to the Office of Communications and Marketing to help with special projects and assignments.