J-Student Spotlight: Matthew Bunch, University of Miami

Matthew Bunch has broadcast in his blood and background and paper-and-ink under his current control.  The 21-year-old University of Miami student is a broadcast journalism and economics double-major who loves “Anchorman” and “Network” and previously won the National Association of Sports Public Address Announcers’ national high school announcer of the year award.  (Try to say that three times fast, give up before the second attempt, and simply take in that it’s a big deal.)  

Yet, for all his broadcast prowess and focus, Bunch is best known in student media circles at Miami for his leadership of the uni’s major print-and-Web outlet The Miami Hurricane.  As Hurricane editor in chief, he oversees a staff of more than 50 and a bevy of constantly breaking news on one of the wilder campuses worldwide.   For his online, on air, in print, and photo posing prowess (see pic below), Bunch earns a well-deserved place in the CMM Student Journalist Spotlight.

Matthew Bunch

Matthew Bunch, Editor in Chief, The Miami Hurricane

Write a six-word memoir of your Hurricane experience so far.

Herding cats can actually be fun.

To all the campus media haters out there: Why does The Hurricane matter?

The Hurricane matters because we’re the best place for students to get information about campus.  We’re a powerful voice relaying what matters. Sometimes it’s the fun feature about a special employee everyone loves. Sometimes it’s the cancellation of a popular shuttle service after being told a month before that it was safe.  We’re students too, and we want to report what we/they want to read.  Plus, one cool thing that makes us even more relevant is the fact that we have an open staff.  You don’t have to be a journalism major to work for us, or even be a student in the Comm school.  We try to be as open as possible and really be an equal member of our community.

What is one story appearing in the paper over the past year you’re especially proud to have overseen?

I think the the story I’m proudest of is on our Art Department.  They’re in buildings from World War II that were supposed to be condemned nearly two decades ago.  They’re kind of tucked away on both corners of campus, making an extremely difficult walk for students and also creating an “out of sight, out of mind” situation.  It’s really amazing that they’re forced to pay the same tuition as a science or communication student who are in brand-new facilities.  Just making people aware of the problem, and hearing from students who were so grateful to be covered, was really fulfilling.

Memorable behind-the-scenes production moment.

I think the most memorable behind-the-scenes moment happened on a recent deadline.  We were having our best deadline ever, super ahead of schedule. Our business manager asked what time we’d finish up, and I said around 10:30 p.m.  Almost immediately, all of our computers froze up and our connection to the server died.  We were incredibly frustrated and distressed, and thought we wouldn’t be able to get the server out.  Luckily, I realized that because we had lost Internet too, it wasn’t necessarily a server issue (which is housed in our School of Communication), but possibly a problem with wiring in our office/building.  So we trekked across campus, got into the one open classroom at 10 p.m., installed our fonts and still finished the paper by midnight.  It was exhilarating.

What first sparked your passion for journalism?

I always enjoyed being the guy to tell people about something that happened before they could hear about it.  It’s not really a specific moment, but I’ve always followed the news and enjoyed telling people what had happened.  It just seemed like a natural fit.  Plus, I’m a big sports guy, and sports journalism (which is my true passion) just seemed like the best possible job.

What is the coolest part about running a major student newspaper?

Knowing the identity of the anonymous relationships columnist.  I can lord it over EVERYONE!!!  Honestly, it’s being able to be so plugged into everything going on around campus, and then being able to share that with everyone else. It’s an incredible responsibility and a humbling experience, but there’s nothing like waking up Monday and Thursday, seeing the paper in the bin and being able to say “That’s my paper.”

What is one question we should all be asking much more often about the current state or future of journalism?

Why are we laying off so many good journalists?  Why are we trying to cut costs by decreasing the quality of the product?  We sometimes get a little too wrapped up in the whole future of the business while forgetting its roots. Whenever I talk to anyone who still has loyalty to a newspaper brand, they don’t complain about multimedia elements or social networking with their news, they hate having a paper that’s a quarter-inch thin and full of garbage about “American Idol” or the latest diet fad.

Money needs to be saved, but if you’re going to reduce your size and scope, at least try to keep people who know what they’re doing, even if it’s at the expense of hiring someone young like me.  Of course newspapers need to adapt to the new online environment, but it doesn’t matter how good your online presence is if it’s full of garbage.  Obviously, every story can’t be Pulitzer-winning material, but the strength of newspapers are their name, their credibility.  At the pace they’re going, they’re going to lay off and furlough themselves into irrelevance.  And I think that’s ultimately a much bigger problem than people think it is.

You wake up in ten years. Where are you and what are you doing?

I’m in Miami.  Sports columnist for the Herald.  Talk radio show.  Occasional appearances on ESPN.  Getting paid to watch sports is the ultimate dream.

One Response to “J-Student Spotlight: Matthew Bunch, University of Miami”
Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] rest is h­ere: J-Stu­d­en­t Spo­tl­ig­ht: Matthew B­u­n­ch, U­n&#… Share and […]