Alissa Smith


What I'm Doing Now

What I'm Doing Now

I am a news associate at The Associated Press in Atlanta, Georgia. In this position, I write and aggregate content for state, national and international audiences. I also edit copy for accuracy, grammar and AP Style.

In addition, I also help run the Central Florida Focus, an independent student news outlet that covers the University of Central Florida.

I launched the Focus in Aug. 2016, after my college paper was shut down. As CEO, I run the website and social media accounts. I also handle staffing, legal and financial responsibilities. As content manager, I pitch stories, edit content for AP Style and grammar, organize and lead workshops, provide professional networking opportunities and more.

The Focus has taken a break this past semester as we search for a new leadership team.

The Associated PressCentral Florida Focus

What I'm Good At

I’m good at writing stories on a variety of topics including breaking news, crime and politics.

I want to gain more experience with long-form journalism, radio, podcasts, photography and videography.

What I'm Good At


The News and Advance

As a reporter, I wrote about a variety of different topics, ranging from politics and city initiatives to breaking news and public safety. I covered stories using multiple mediums, including videos, articles and photo galleries. I also consistently pitched story ideas and ways to cover the public safety beat, including new ways to listen to scanner traffic and interact with public agencies.

Orlando Sentinel

As homepage editor, I ran the homepage of the Orlando Sentinel, which at the time received more than 50 million views a month. I monitored social media for story ideas and breaking news, wrote multiple quick-hit stories a day and used metrics to ensure the homepage was optimized for maximum views. I also worked across editorial departments to ensure stories were packaged correctly, wrote and distributed newsletters, sent out news alerts and ran social media accounts during my shifts, which at the time had an audience of more than 342,000.

Central Florida Future

As news editor at the Future, I created and organized content for online and weekly print editions. I organized in-depth coverage of the Pulse shooting, the Zika virus, human trafficking, the anniversary of the 2013 Tower I incident and much more. I also developed social media strategies to increase followings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and supervised a five-member social media team. I also used social media to report breaking news and kept up with new apps and social media platforms to increase audience size and interaction.


  • Alissa Smith is a journalism machine, and I owe an incredible debt to her. In August 2016, she took me under her wing and hired me as a section editor for the Central Florida Focus. Did I mention she founded the publication?

    Alissa creates opportunities for herself, gives a voice to the voiceless and won’t stop until everyone is heard. She pushes her colleagues to do their best work, and because of her, I was appointed editor-in-chief of my university’s official student news publication and managing editor of our university’s student-produced magazine.

    Alissa is her own success story, and she wants to take others with her. She is a woman of strength, perseverance and resilience both professionally and personally, and I would recommend her for any position.

    Gia Doxey, Senior journalism student at UCF
  • Alissa is one of the most hardworking and enterprising individuals I have ever met. She goes to great lengths to achieve what needs to be done. Working with her in the newsroom at the Central Florida Future, I witnessed her dedication to reporting the truth, as she spent hours poring over budget documents and court filings. Journalism is a field hypothetically bound by strict ethical standards, but these days too many are willing to play fast and loose with those standards. Not Alissa. She has a nose for what’s right and what’s wrong.
    I also witnessed her perseverance as she tried multiple tactics to get the information and perspectives she needed for her stories. When Alissa reaches a dead end, she regroups and finds a way out rather than giving up.
    She is a compassionate person with a strong moral compass. She also deals professionally and tenderly with those above her and below her in the chain of command. I would recommend Alissa for any position.

    Alex Storer, Legislative Aide
  • I worked under Alíssa at the Central Florida Focus in the spring of 2017. I was the news editor, and she guided and helped me grow in that position. She taught me lessons that I still use to this day, such as how to communicate with the public relations of an organization or how to communicate to other reporters when assigning stories. She is a strong leader and a great teacher. Alíssa founded the Central Florida Focus as an independent news source for the University of Central Florida after the Central Florida Future was shut down. Since the Central Florida Focus’ founding, she has led the publication to being, in my opinion, the most respectable news outlet at UCF. The success of the Central Florida Focus is due to her determination as a reporter and truth seeker, and I have no doubt that she will be very successful in her career.

    Casey Ryan, The Heritage Foundation
  • It was an absolute honor working with Alissa. She was a firm, strong, and compassionate leader. She guided me in becoming a better writer, piece by piece. Alissa showed great leadership skills, while building up a team that was self sufficient. She encouraged her writers to work hard, learn, and be bold. It was truly a great opportunity to work for her. Alissa exudes passion, drive, and creativity.

    Alyssa McComb, Samsung
  • I have worked with Alissa in a variety of positions from doing financial projections for new companies in business school to actually creating and operating a successful media company together. Over past 3 years, I have seen Alissa consistently focus on quality and excellence in everything she takes ownership of. Alissa’s keen eye for detail and analytical approach to problem-solving has made her an invaluable partner. She is highly ambitious and will always take initiative and a calculated risk. Alissa exemplifies the best work ethic I’ve ever seen, matched with a skillful professionalism that makes her stand out among the crowd. She consistently goes above and beyond in her work to ask hard-hitting questions around topics that truly matter. I have never seen anyone as passionate and highly recommend Alissa to any position because I know she will bring that fire and passion to any team.

    Angela Minerva, Purpose Pioneers
  • Alissa is a phenomenal colleague. It is rare to find someone as driven to succeed as she is. Where opportunities don’t exist, Alissa creates them, always willing to pick up as many new skills as necessary to make things happen. Every project and organization she contributes to benefits from her insight and dedication.

    Kat Engelauf, The Princeton Review

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