How VOICES inspired Matt Lee to become the “Jack Journalist”

AAJA 2013 Voices faculties and students in New York City

AAJA 2013 Voices faculties and students in New York City

Prior to being accepted into Voices I had held the stubborn opinion that I didn’t have the chops to be a reporter. I held on tight to the belief that my role as a web producer and social media editor was to help journalists tell their stories, and that was it. I applied to the program after realizing that this self-limiting belief would not help me excel or even survive in this struggling industry. I realized that because journalism called for jacks of  all trades, I had to dive into an area within which i was uncomfortable in hopes of growing my infantile reporting muscles and become the “Jack Journalist” I needed to be.

Matt_LeeI sure got a workout. Every day  of the program was chock full of not only writing and producing stories, but also meetings with industry leaders who shared their advice, touring legendary New York City newsrooms, and if we weren’t too busy — eating our second and third meals. Although at times the program was strenuous what made all the hard work worth it were the people I met at the program. My fellow Voices students, ranging from as young as a college sophomore to as old as a journalism graduate school student, were among the brightest of the young journalists I have met throughout my time working in the industry. It was electrifying to be around such inspired and passionate people who were in the program for one thing: to improve themselves as journalists.

I left the program with a completely new perspective on who I am as a journalist. It was because of Voices and the extraordinary men and women who came to share their insight with us, collaborate with us on our reporting and or simply to get to know us as young journalist that I am a more inspired and ambitious member of this industry.

- Matt Lee graduated from UCLA in 2012 and is currently a Web Production and Engagement intern at 89.3 KPCC. You can follow him on twitter @MattLee2669