Joe Martin has come a long way. He is two years out of school and on NAA’s Top 30 Under 30 list.
He came from a town of 6,000 people and is now in the United States’ fourth largest city, covering the law, money and technology in Houston for the Houston Business Journal.
“Where I’ve gotten is just something I will always cherish,” he says.
His counselor in high school would be shaking her head. He got into media in high school after failing out of an AP European History Class.
He couldn’t take another study hall, so he ended up in the broadcast journalism studio. There, he learned how to create news packages and tell stories more effectively. He went on to study journalism at Arizona State University.
Eventually, Joe transitioned from broadcast to the print medium when he saw “how much more effectively I could use my words to tell a story, instead of video and audio.” He wishes he had kept a journal back in high school, now understanding the importance of chronicling every day.
He takes pride in his stories, knowing his readers make decisions based on the information published on the website.
“It’s humbling to know people are reading you to figure out what their next move in the business community is going to be,” he says.
Two stories stick out in particular. One local hospital misreported a case of Ebola, causing a stir in the media.
Joe got the CEO of the hospital on the phone and wrote what happened and how the hospital handled the media crisis.
“That story, besides being widely read, was important to folks in the health care industry,” he says.
The other story that comes to mind for Joe is one about autism in the work place. He spoke with a father of an autistic son.
“Shortly after graduation the son took his life because he was unable to find a job,” Joe says. “The story itself played into a larger picture of not being able to get a chance because of a disability.”
As he continues his career, Joe wants to continue to grow as a writer.
“I want to continue to be a respected member of the community of which I write for,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s Houston, Texas, or Chatham, Illinois. I want people to come to me for information on the topics I’m covering.”
Kirsten is the Social Media and Blog Editor at the News Media Alliance.