Drew Smith, Steptoe & Johnson– Class of 2006

Drew Smith photoLike so many others, I began the W. Page Pitt journalism program knowing almost nothing about journalism. I only knew that I wanted to write for a living. As for actually making that happen, I left it to the professors at the SOJMC. They didn’t disappoint.

I have never looked at a sentence the same way after taking JMC 100 with Dr. Arnold (in fact, I keep a copy of his book by desk to this day). I know what it is to be passionate about writing and storytelling after being in a classroom with Dan Hollis. Working at The Parthenon taught me how to take an idea and turn it into a bona fide piece of journalism. And the list goes on.

And despite being a print major, I began working in online journalism immediately following graduation. Within a few years, I went from a paid-by-the-word freelance writer to the managing editor of a Chicago-based media startup. In that role, I was overseeing local news production for newspapers such as The Chicago-Sun Times, The Houston Chronicle, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

I can definitively say that I would not have had these opportunities but for the education I received at the SOJMC. It was possible because of the time I invested in the W. Page Pitt journalism program and the time its professors invested in me. The SOJMC gave me the foundational knowledge to be a competent writer and editor. But more importantly, it prepared me to be a journalist. And for that, I’m forever grateful.

Though I’m no longer in the journalism field, I still use the skills I learned at the SOJMC every single day. As an attorney, I have to be able to write effectively and concisely. I have to be curious and know how to ask the right questions. And I have to convey complex ideas in a way that is understandable and compelling. These are all things I learned to do at Marshall, in Smith Hall, from the professors at W. Page Pitt.

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