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Cynic editor lands at USA Today

February 26, 2012

Barely out of college, a former Vermont Cynic editor has been hired for the job that many journalists pursue their entire careers: reporting for the nation’s highest-circulation newspaper.

Natalie DiBlasio, the 2011 Cynic editor-in-chief and a December 2011 grad, will begin work March 12 on the USA Today nation desk, a Washington D.C. assignment where reporters  write for the front page, the news section and the newspaper’s online site.

“When I first heard I couldn’t believe it,” DiBlasio said. “It is for a paper I love, with people I know and love and right outside of a city I love. It feels like a dream.

“I am so honored to be offered such a wonderful position at such an incredible paper.”

Her assignment takes her to the same desk she worked in the summer of 2011, when she became the first USA Today intern to publish on the front page within a week of starting.

DiBlasio said her UVM/Cynic experience was vital to her finding a place at USA Today.

“I wouldn’t be here without my experience with the Vermont Cynic,” she said. “Aside from the lessons I learned about news writing, I was surrounded by a supportive and talented group of peers.

“There were always people who were interested and engaged in what I was doing, always ready with constructive criticism and support. I always had a place to turn to talk about my aspirations and the challenges in my way.”

Jane Petrillo, DiBlasio’s academic adviser, said she wasn’t surprised to see her advisee succeed at such a high level.

“From the start of her time at UVM, Natalie was all high energy and intensity,” Petrillo said. “She brought those qualities—and creativity and professionalism—to each class and to each position of responsibility that she held.”

DiBlasio became the Cynic’s top editor in January 2011 after serving as news editor, assistant news editor and news reporter. She says she first became interested in news reporting in Fall 2009, when she took News Writing Across the Media as part of the Public Communication major at UVM.

She went on to intern for The Burlington Free Press, a local newspaper that, like USA Today, is part of the Gannett newspaper chain.

DiBlasio was the first Cynic staffer in institutional memory to get an internship at USA today, and she is the latest of a recent crop of Cynic graduates to land jobs at nationally recognized news organizations.

In the past few years, Cynic managing editors Jessica Bartlett and Connor Boals have gone on to work at The Boston Globe and Reuters, respectively. Recent features editor Molly Shaker works for Good Morning America with ABC News.

DiBlasio said she “can’t wait to get started” on this next chapter of her life, but she will miss her Cynic family. She lauded in particular the talent and friendship of the two managing editors with whom she worked: Elliot deBruyn and Jeff Ayers.

“Through the Cynic I learned about leadership, journalism and how to really dream,” she said. “Without a doubt, I would never be in such a wonderful position without the incredible family of people who have supported me from the ground up at UVM.”

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