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Department ofCommunication


Reporting What Matters

Tech journalist Kurt Wagner '12 reflects on his favorite class at SCU and his most rewarding story.

I'm often asked by those who aren't in journalism which story I'm most proud of. I've been writing almost daily for the past three years so there are lots to choose from. It's somewhat funny to think despite all I've learned in the four years since graduating from SCU, my most memorable story was one I wrote as a Santa Clara junior in my Journalism Capstone (COMM 196) class with Senior Lecturer Barbara Kelley.

The story was called "Dreamers" and documented a little-known scholarship program that Santa Clara's Jesuits offer to undocumented immigrants looking for a college education. The story was tough to report—not many people talked openly about the scholarships—but it was incredibly rewarding. Looking back now, I think what makes the story so special to me is that I was writing about something that truly mattered to people. Students who were part of the program trusted me with their personal stories. It was a chance to talk openly about something that few people even knew existed. 

I would have never been able to write this story without Prof. Kelley and the capstone class. I'm learning now that I'm in the daily grind of news reporting that there are few opportunities to spend 10 weeks reporting on one magazine-length story. This was that opportunity, plus the chance to have an editor provide feedback throughout the entire process. I used that clip to land my first few jobs out of college, and I still use the skills I learned from that class in my job today.

Kurt Wagner ’12 double majored in Communication and Political Science. He served two years as the editor-in-chief of The Santa Clara, the university’s award-winning student newspaper. He is now an associate editor at the business and tech publication Re/code, where he covers social media, including companies like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn.

Watch Kurt discuss the power of Twitter on CNBC.

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