Writing has been more than a career for Dora Ann Reaves, a journalist for 50-plus years. The Post and Courier newspaper reporter has always felt personally responsible for every word poised to be published.
Mrs. Reaves advises peers and anyone aspiring to work in the news industry to honestly care about what they write. She urges them to look people in the eye when doing interviews and avoid spelling and grammatical errors, because if readers doubt the reporter, they won’t trust the newspaper.
Mrs. Reaves has earned the gumption to offer her expertise, having worked as an assistant chief copy editor, a copy desk chief, and a reporter at publications owned by the Evening Post Publishing Newspaper Group in Charleston, South Carolina. She points to her role as copy desk chief as a career highlight because she was responsible for selecting every story for the newspaper five days a week. Today, Mrs. Reaves focuses on crafting obituaries for The Post and Courier and writing grants for nonprofit organizations.
Being genuinely thoughtful and concerned about everything she writes is one factor Mrs. Reaves believes makes her successful. She reinforces a primary journalism tenant of getting both sides of every story. She also possesses the skill of taking notes in a shorthand she created without looking down at what she writes. As she previously advised, this allows her to keep eye contact with whomever she interviews to discern whether they’re being honest. Mrs. Reaves also attributes her success to having excellent mentors, from the city editor who first hired her to other bosses, including one whom she recalled kept files on employees’ dates of birth, whom they married, and when their babies were born, and sent cards celebrating their special occasions.
Since receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1969 from Winthrop College, now Winthrop University, Mrs. Reaves has remained a perennial award winner. She’s been selected for inclusion in multiple Marquis Who’s Who editions since 1989. She also won the Order of The Flying Orchid Award from Delta Airlines in 1978, the School Bell Award from the South Carolina Education Association in 1973, and the 2nd Place Spot Reporting Award from the South Carolina Press Association in 1972, among other honors. Mrs. Reaves, a standing member of the Society of Professional Journalists, was president of the Charleston Press Club in 1972 and vice president the year before.
Civically, Mrs. Reaves has volunteered with HELP of Summerville, a nonprofit social services organization that helps local families with basic needs. She also was executive director of Sculpture in the South, a nonprofit organization in Summerville that promotes sculpture through education. An avid traveler, Mrs. Reaves’s goal in the coming years is to “hit another five to 10 countries” and watch her grandson grow up.