The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

November 8, 2011

Biography of Kelly Kazek

The News Courier

. — Kelly Kazek was born in Warner Robins, Ga., in whichever year adds up to her being 35. Her family later moved to Huntsville, Ala., where she attended high school, concentrating mostly on boys but sometimes on chemistry class, where she became known as the only student ever to singe off her bangs in what is now referred to as The Bunsen Burner Incident. (In her defense, no one ever told her not to lean over the experiment area after shellacking her bangs with AquaNet.)

She then attended Auburn University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, in whichever year adds up to her being 35.

She chose English because of her love of words and devotion to proper grammar — who are we kidding? — it was because it was the only subject in which she earned straight A’s.

After graduating, she moved to Atlanta, where she wondered what English majors without teaching certificates do for a living.

Spotting an ad for a newspaper reporter, she applied and, just two days before she was to start a career as a waitress, she became a Real-For-Sure Journalist in the big city. Three months later, after her mom and dad spent hundreds of dollars on locks and bars for the doors and windows of her Atlanta apartment, she decided to move back to her parents’ home in Athens, Ala.

Since then, she freelanced briefly for The Huntsville Times, worked for The Decatur Daily, and owned her own business in Madison, Ala., for several years before becoming managing editor of The News Courier in Athens, where she has been since 2001.

She does not like to toot her own horn, but, being a well-bred Southern woman, she is willing to let others do it for her. So here goes:

Kelly has won more than 130 state and national awards in journalism, including numerous awards for humor writing and the Alabama Associated Press Sweepstakes Awards in 2007 and 2008. She has twice received first-place awards for Best Humorous Commentary from the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards and received first place for Column Writing from Suburban Newspapers of America in 2009.

In 2006, Kelly was chosen for a fellowship in the Elite Reporter program and was named Feature Writer of the Year by Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. in 2007. For three years, her columns were syndicated through CNHI News Service, appearing in newspapers across the country.

She has served as treasurer (2009) and president (2010) of the Alabama Associated Press Managing Editors.

Kelly also is a contributing author to “Weird U.S., The ODDyssey Continues,” by Moran, Sceurman and Lake, which was released in October by Barnes and Noble Books.

Oh, and a reflection of Kelly Kazek’s shirt can be seen in the movie “Constellation,” which was filmed in Huntsville, Ala. Her shirt's reflection appears in a scene with actress Zoe Saldana, who her ownself has appeared in films with Johnny Depp and Ashton Kutcher.