By Jackson Moran ’21
How has doing Journalism at Brophy and continuing that at ASU shaped you and enabled you to do what you did with the Volker story?
“Brophy played a large part in my love for Journalism. Mr. [Mica] Mulloy ’99 was the advisor at the time when was at The Roundup but he always encouraged us to pursue stories that were very important even if they may not reflect the best on Brophy or even if they were difficult. That was something that I’ve carried into ASU, the ability to know that a student can write any story that anyone else can. Kind of the fact that we’re not student journalists, we’re just journalists and I think that’s something I learned at Brophy and that has also been taught by my professors at ASU. I just think that the general concept of never feeling like you can’t do something because of your age or because you’re a student is something I learned there and that I fully believe now.
At ASU, what kind of things do you do with journalism?
“I’m a student at Cronkite, a junior now which is still insane, but I also study political science. I’m the managing editor for the State Press which is the student newspaper here. I joined as a first semester freshman as a community life reporter and I’ve sort of done that ever since. I went to DC for a semester as well and I got to cover Arizona’s congressional delegation so that’s where I got the love for politics which I would say played a large part in the Volker thing, as I was always following what was going on in DC.”
What else do you do outside of ASU such as internships?
“I have an internship at The Arizona Republic where I cover state politics and state issues so I’ve written some stories about the U of A and some Game and Fish stories. So really anything that’s going on in the state that my editor tells me to do, I’ll write about. This summer I also had an internship at the AZ Capitol Times which is a super niche paper.”
How did the Volker story come about and where did you get the eye to pursue this story?
“We knew that Volker worked at the university and that at the time he was the executive director at the McCain Institute which is a think tank out of DC that is operated by ASU. We were just trying to find a way to localize everything that’s going on with Ukraine and Trump and find a way to show how that was impacting our readers. The way to do that was through Volker so we asked the University some stuff about them, whether he was going to stay at the state department or if he was going to keep his role at the school and in asking the University, they told us that he was going to be resigning his job as special envoy to Ukraine. That was it, it sounds kind of simple and I guess it was, it was that we just took a different kind of angle than other people by pursuing it from a University angle instead of a more national one.”
What was the aftermath like after you broke that story?
“It was pretty insane honestly. I woke up to a bunch of missed calls from the Washington Post (WaPo) and the New York Times after waking up at like 10:30 the next day. The Washington Post had already published a story that said that I did not respond to their request for comment, which is hilarious because I was just sleeping. But I woke up with a bunch of tweets that said, ‘Can you call WaPo back, please?’ It was just like weird to get up at four a.m. to go on CNN. It was a whirlwind of a few days and I’m kind of glad it’s over now.”
What are your thoughts on the term that you “scooped’ the New York Times and the Washington Post?
It was a cool feeling and I got a lot of congrats, but I never approached it like I was trying to beat them. I was just trying to pursue it in a way that I could help our audience and help the ASU community. It was really cool to do that and we got some great recognition because of it but it was never at the top of my mind and it isn’t something that I really focus on.”
Do you have any advice for those who may want to pursue journalism or are interested in it?
“I would say that you should never think a story is out of your reach. Just ask as many people as possible and I think that was the most important thing that I was taught and that’s what I’d tell others. I am still a student and that’s the funny thing. It’s just doing your job and if you continue on it then you could stumble across something like this just as easily.”