VSC Alumni Spotlight: Alex Heard, ’80

Alex Heard
Student Media Hall of Famer Alex Heard served as arts editor at The Vanderbilt Hustler and editor of Versus, and today he’s the editor in chief of Outside magazine. Be sure to read an important story published by Outside earlier this year: “How Did This Climber Get Away with So Much for So Long?” by Anette McGivney.
Alex said the writer took the assignment even after two of the magazine’s top freelancers turned down they job because they were worried about their personal safety:
“As McGivney dove into hundreds of documents related to the federal case against Charles Barrett, she discovered that he had made death threats against several individuals, and he had stalked, harassed, and defamed women he’d dated. Over a period of a year and a half, McGivney connected the dots of Barrett’s frightening past—using official records from legal proceedings against him—and reached out to dozens of people in the climbing community.
“McGivney’s story was published just days before Barrett’s trial began in February. He was ultimately convicted on three counts of sexual assault, but it was McGivney’s investigation that set the record straight by exposing a serial predator and proving to the world that his victims’ stories were true.”
About Alex …
His career has been spent entirely in the magazine business. Alex has worked as the executive editor at Wired and as a story editor at The  New York Times Magazine. He has written for a variety of publications, including The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, Wired, Outside, The Washington Post Magazine, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Harper’s, and Spy. He’s also the author of two books: “The Eyes of Willie McGee” and “Apocalypse Pretty Soon.”
Alex said Vanderbilt and his experiences at the university were fundamental for him.
“Without my exposure to newspaper and magazine journalism at VSC, it would not have occurred to me to consider journalism as a career,” he said. “I began the long process of learning how to write and edit at both The Hustler and Versus. I enjoyed my academic courses, but I learned much more that proved to be of lasting value by working with VSC.”

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