2023 Massachusetts High School Journalist of the Year
Hi, I’m Ryan Martin, 2023 Massachusetts High School Journalist of the Year and Senior Editor for Franklin High School’s Pantherbook for the 2022-23 academic year.
I appreciate your interest in viewing my 2023 JEA High School Journalist of the Year portfolio which features my wide variety of skills and field work. Please feel free to contact me with questions, comments, or feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org - Thank you!
The lights of the news camera blind me as the interview begins. “Hi! Welcome to Monday Night!” I say, introducing myself to the world. With big-time set directors, celebrities, and hot dog vendors everywhere I look, I start to speak as 82,000 fans file into New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium. Yeah, I think I could get used to this.
My heart still races thinking about it: As a high school freshman, I was interviewed on the field at a New York Jets vs. New England Patriots game. I was serving as the “sidekick” of ESPN reporter Adam Schefter, discussing how I won the NFL-sponsored contest. I had submitted a minute-long video explaining my career ambitions and future goals. I wanted to meet Adam because I aspire to be a leader in multimedia journalism and hopefully follow in his footsteps. Spending the day with Schefter, my goals began to feel attainable. Sitting in on a production meeting with the crew of ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown, I envisioned myself on the other side of the table as one of the professional producers and on-air personalities. Being on-air for the game and all the steps that led up to showtime are indelibly imprinted in my memory.
My love for journalism started when I was 9. My passion sprouted from a single moment: a rerun of the 1989 Super Bowl. The legendary NBC broadcasting duo of Dick Enberg and Merlin Olsen stole the show for me. The combination of Enberg’s subtle, conversational commentary and Olsen’s expert perspective changed my view on sports forever. I loved how their words flowed out so effortlessly, so confidently, providing a backdrop to the world’s biggest stage. I knew then that I wanted to be that voice in the heads of America’s next generation.
My desire to become a journalist saw me step outside my comfort zone, spending a week away from home at sports broadcasting camp the summer I entered middle school. Surrounded by like-minded sports fanatics while picking the brains of the Boston area’s top media professionals, I enjoyed every minute of Play-by-Play Sports Broadcasting Camps. Over the next five years, I grew through my camp experiences, forming relationships with peers and professionals as my journalistic confidence reached new heights. The guest speakers were a varied group: baseball broadcasters, college football reporters, and writers for the Olympics. Despite their different backgrounds, the speakers urged us to always advocate for ourselves. However unlikely it may seem, they said, you always need to give yourself a chance. I took their lessons to heart, which ultimately took me to New York for that Jets/Patriots game.
This past summer, I again found myself on an NFL sideline; I had advocated myself into a full-circle opportunity. The Milford Daily News, a local publication that interviewed me after I spent the day with Schefter, hired me this past May as their youngest paid freelancer. By August, I was smelling the training camp grass as the Patriots took the practice field. I was serving as a credentialed media member covering my hometown team. Members of the Boston Herald to my left, Associated Press to my right, and a new document opened on the laptop in front of me. I had completed the transition from the newspaper’s 15-year-old interviewee to its 17-year-old interviewer.
This growth from being an eager underclassman to a dedicated high school senior with the same passion for journalism represents the most progressive transition of my life. I am fortunate to have already used my experiences in educating creative staff members through my high school’s publication, Pantherbook.
My position as Senior Editor for Pantherbook has helped me find an impactful place in my school’s community. Welcoming in first-year staff writers through new initiatives and bringing attention to school happenings through published works has taught me the power of leadership. Leaders in journalism are compassionate towards others, set the standard for ethical reporting, and utilize available resources to ensure holistic coverage on behalf of their publication.
When I think back to that moment in New York, I realize that the lights aren’t actually too bright for me. By listening to the journalists of yesterday and meeting the journalists of today, I am learning what it takes to lead as the journalist of tomorrow.