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Meet the Team 

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Kristi Jones

Kristi Jones has worked with Middle Tennessee News since August of 2020. Kristi has worked as a reporter, assignment manager, producer and anchor. Kristi is from a small East Tennessee town called Madisonville. She began her career at Middle Tennessee State University in the Fall of 2019 majoring in Journalism and minoring in Media Management and Honors. When Kristi is not at her internship or in the production booth, she enjoys spending time with her sisters of Chi Omega and time outdoors. You can find her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. 


Olivia Cate

Olivia Cate is a MTSU Journalism major and Film and Production minor from Fredericksburg, Virginia. Her inspiration for the arts started from an early age exploring acting, singing and song-writing. When she is not busy being a storyteller, she is spending time with her Pomeranian, friends and family or eating Popeyes. She is expected to graduate in 2022.


Darby McCarthy

Darby McCarthy is a senior at MTSU and a journalist for newspapers in the USA Today network in the Middle Tennessee region. She has been the creator and host of her own radio program, “Chordgeous” on WMTS 88.3, highlighting and playing the work of Tennessee musicians of all genres since 2019. She has appeared on national television as a prize-winning contestant on Wheel of Fortune, and assistant produced Middle Tennessee News’s election night coverage in the presidential election of 2020. 

Darby will be graduating in December of 2021 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Theatre.


Deshau Star

Deshaun Star was born in Nashville, TN. He started writing about pop culture in seventh grade. Enamored with putting his thoughts and opinions to paper, he kept writing and ultimately became the head music writer for his high school newspaper. Outside of school he writes for his own magazine that he runs with his friends. In the future he hopes to start and run his own media company. 

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Hope Scott

Hope is a senior at Middle Tennessee State University, majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Journalism. She currently works part-time as a Creative Assistant at LifePoint Church, and she does freelance photography in her free time. She loves getting to know people and telling their stories!  


Ryann Kieu

Ryann Kieu is a multimedia journalist who has worked with print journalism, broadcast media, and television production. She is currently a junior at Middle Tennessee State University majoring in Journalism with a minor in Media Management. Ryann has worked with many on-campus groups such as Sidelines, Middle Tennessee News, and MT10 (recently renamed Blue Raider Television). She is currently co-producing a music-based student run television show called “The Wave” that is affiliated with Blue Raider Television. Ryann is from Chattanooga, Tennessee and enjoys going home to visit her family, reading, and listening to music in her free time


Cheyana Avilla 

Cheyana is a senior at Middle Tennessee State University with a major in Journalism and minoring in Political Science. Since early years of high school, her passion has been sharing stories through video and film. From the spring of 2019-2020 she acted as an assignment manager, anchor, and producer for Middle Tennessee News. It taught her so many lessons, in journalism and in her own personal life such as organization, conflict management, and communication skills. She also works as a freelance videographer and photographer. In the summer of 2020, she served as the videographer for a local judicial campaign. Through her experiences she has learned the importance of networking and forming relationships with her fellow professors as well.


Haley Perkins

Haley Perkins is a senior at Middle Tennessee State University with a major in journalism and a minor in marketing. She has been telling stories through video since she was in high school, where she produced many hype videos for her schools football team. She works as a social media and digital content producer for Middle Tennessee News. Haley is passionate about telling stories and finding new ways to tell them. When she isn’t telling stories, she enjoys spending time with her friends and family. In the future, she hopes to continue telling stories though different forms of media.

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Jackson Cates

Jackson Cates is earning his degree at Middle Tennessee State University. He grew up in Franklin TN. From a young age he had a passion for telling stories. With his passion for telling stories and his writing skills, he decided to pursue a career in journalism. He aims to tell any and every type of story, be it in written, radio or broadcast television form. He dreams one day of becoming a best-selling author. 

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Sarah Oppmann

Sarah Oppmann is a junior at Middle Tennessee State University double majoring in journalism and theatre. Sarah has worked with WMOT news as a student reporter and radio voice and Middle Tennessee News as an anchor and analyst for the tennis broadcast. Sarah has performed in three main stage performances in Tucker Theatre with the MTSU theatre department. Sarah is also a College of Liberal Arts Emissary and a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority and Alpha Psi Omega fraternity. 

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Naffie Njie

Naffie Njie is a senior pursuing a BS in Interdisciplinary Journalism and a minor in Film Studies. 

She grew up in Southfield, Michigan and she is Gambian-American. She has always been passionate about storytelling and has wanted to be a writer since she was a kid.

In high school, she got her start writing for Blackman High School's Online Newspaper: The Blackman Voice. She wrote music reviews and news pieces for the site for 1 year before transferring to Stewarts Creek High School. There, she participated in the theater program and directed a one-act play during her senior year.

Currently, she is a contributing writer for MTSU Sidelines, and she is interning at the Frist Art Museum and the Civic Design Center in Nashville. In 2019, she received a John Seigenthaler Journalism Scholarship for $500. She is pursuing a career in journalism and screenwriting.

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Roselyn Pickens 

Roselyn Pickens is a senior at Middle Tennessee State University.  She is currently a dual major in Journalism and English with a minor in writing.  Her passion for writing and communication developed early when she took her first position in radio in 1994 at KNWD.  She worked in the Middle Tennessee News Room as a reporter last semester enjoying the broad learning experience.  She has called Middle Tennessee home for the last ten years moving from South Louisiana.  


Will Chappell 

Will Chappell is a Senior at MTSU majoring in Journalism with a minor in Russian studies. He works at WMOT covering Covid and real estate, and writes opinion pieces for Sidelines. In addition to Russian, he speaks French. He loves travelling and has been to more than a dozen countries and every state except Alaska.

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Sam Lindsay 

Sam Lindsay is a senior at MTSU majoring in Interdisciplinary Media with a focus in Journalism. He is originally from Kansas City, Missouri but has lived in Tennessee since 2013. He plans to obtain his master's degree. 


Nick Cook

Nick Cook is a senior at Middle Tennessee State University striving to achieve a Bachelor's degree in Science with a Major in Journalism. His focus is in Public Relations and his Minor is in Music Business. He finds all things creative interesting and strives to learn new, creative hobbies everyday. Along the way, he has learned to web design using WordPress and Wix.  He also enjoys photo-editing, video-editing, photography, audio production, and graphic design.

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