A&S Class of '24: Economics and Philosophy Major Lexi Baker Broke News as a Journalist

2024 A&S graduate Lexi Baker

As managing editor of The Cavalier Daily, Lexi Baker often worked with her colleagues until 2 or 3 a.m. on deadline nights to publish the print edition of the University of Virginia student newspaper.

The graduating double major in economics and philosophy from Atlanta said The Cavalier Daily newsroom and its dedicated group of like-minded, similarly driven student journalists served as her primary community on Grounds. Following Final Exercises, Baker is moving on this summer to an internship with the breaking-news and business news desk of her hometown newspaper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I find it extremely rewarding to share information with the community, especially in a college town where coverage of local news is suffering, Baker said.  “Moreover it fills a really important gap, and I think getting to getting to be so involved in the UVA community but also very familiar with the Charlottesville community “Getting involved with The Cavalier Daily was really rewarding as a way to get involved both in the UVA community and with the Charlottesville community.

“When I began, I didn't realize how much goes on within the student body, as well as with faculty and staff at a school this large. Getting to see that and then share it with people through our news coverage drove me to stay with it.”

Baker’s favorite Cavalier Daily projects included a long-form piece in which she interviewed University of Virginia faculty, on the five-year anniversary of the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally, about the lasting impact on UVA of the weekend in which white supremacists and neo-Nazis marched onto the Lawn and their violent clashes with counter protesters that led to the death of Heather Heyer and to severe injuries to many other bystanders and participants.

More recently, in February of 2023, Baker and another editor of The Cavalier Daily broke the story of a series of critical texts sent by incoming Board of Visitor member Bert Ellis to other BOV members and high-level UVA officials. Obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by transparency advocate Jeff Thomas, the texts included a call for a “battle royale for the soul of UVA” and criticisms of everything from the behavior of upper-level administrators to the University Guide service.

“It was a good learning experience on how to turn that type of information around quickly for a breaking news story,” said Baker, who believes that economics and philosophy complemented each other effectively as her two academic majors.

“Philosophy is obviously more theoretical, and the readings are a lot a lot more abstract in that sense, but I really enjoyed that type of critical thinking. I really do think being able to piece things together … being able to read and write and argue are very important skills for whatever you're going to do. At the same time, economics allowed me to apply that critical thinking along with a sort of mathematical base to that part of my liberal arts education. I think they go together really well,” she said.

“I do think as a whole my education at UVA has been extremely well-rounded,” Baker said. “Whatever I decide to do down the road, I feel as prepared as much as you can be leaving school.”


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