CRESTVIEW — The Crestview News Bulletin welcomes its newest team member, Mark Judson, who covers North Okaloosa County, particularly Crestview, Baker and Laurel Hill.

Judson — a 2016 University of North Florida graduate who started at the News Bulletin on Dec. 13 — gained years of experience and acclaim at his alma mater.

He served as Spinnaker News’ managing editor, was a sport and investigative columnist for the off-campus Folio Weekly and a Features contributor for Void Magazine, all in the Jacksonville area.

In addition, Judson won the Florida Society of News Editors’ First Place Award for Multimedia Student News Bureau Project in June and has served as a social media editor and marketing manager.

“Mark will build his journalism career at the News Bulletin, but he is no stranger to hard news and the needs of a 21st-century newsroom,” CNB Editor Thomas Boni said.

Judson’s portfolio includes reports on a Jacksonville shootout; legal entanglements associated with dredging the St. Johns River; and gauging public opinion on Congresswoman Corrine Brown’s fraud charges. In addition, he covered changing trends, such as Jacksonville women emerging in the craft beer industry, and general features, such as a local 16-year-old girl’s appearance on TV’s “Shark Tank.”

His UNF training and experiences surpassed reporting to include recording video, appearing on television programs, co-hosting podcasts, performing web design and tracking readership.

“Mark is experienced in many areas — UNF has an excellent journalism program — and that training, coupled with his own talent, dedication and attention to detail, make him a welcome addition to the Crestview News Bulletin,” Boni said. “We are pleased to introduce him to our communities.”

Judson said his drive centers on a passion for people.

"I became a journalist because I believe in putting the needs of others first,” he said. “This might mean bringing attention to someone in need, holding accountable those who believe they are above scrutiny or informing people about what's going on around them. I've always been a strong writer and seeker of information, so journalism was the perfect way to achieve the goal of helping people."

Judson is new to Crestview, but he said he’s no stranger to smaller towns like the Hub City.

“I love seeing an abundance of local businesses and engaged citizens — I think those are key to building a thriving community,” he said. “So far, people have been incredibly welcoming and kind. I'm looking forward to learning more about the area and meeting as many people as I can."

Residents will see Judson at city council meetings and around town, but those who are social media savvy can see him anytime on his Twitter page. Just search for @cnbMark. CNB readers also can email tips to Judson at mjudson@crestviewbulletin.com.

Judson said he is excited to meet more Crestview area residents online and in person.

"I came to Crestview because I believe small towns allow for individuals to have more impact,” he said. “This is personally important to me and further prepares me for my long-term goals. The area is also surrounded by other interesting towns and home to several parks and trails.

“Besides, why would somebody want to leave Florida?"