The first day working for the Daily Telegram, freelance reporter Matt Crossman was exposed to a scene he would never forget.
“The police scanner started squawking about a house fire,” Crossman said. “[When I got there] the fire chief took me back over to the burned out skeleton of a house.”
The chief then took Crossman back to show him one bedroom that was untouched because the door was closed and another room decimated by the flames because the door was left open.
For Crossman, it was an experience he would never forget. On his website, he writes, “I was so excited- my first day, and I had a story I would never forget. I’ve never lost that thrill of journalism. Not for one day.”
Crossman’s excitement for his work led him to many smaller papers in Missouri, Michigan and Pennsylvania as well as a job writing and editing for Sporting News.
He applied for the job while his wife was going to law school and he needed to find work. At first he was hesitant to apply to Sporting News because he ‘didn’t want [to write] sports, didn’t want to copy edit, but I didn’t want to work at Kmart.”
However, Crossman got a job at the national sports magazine working at the copy editing desk.
“I hated copy editing, so every chance I got, I raised my hand and said, ‘Let me go write that, let me go write that, let me go write that,’” Crossman said.
And his editor let him write. In his 12 years with the magazine, he wrote 30 stories that appeared on the cover and he is the only writer in the history of the magazine to appear on the cover.
His stories have won numerous awards and accolades and he considers himself to be a storyteller.
“[Being a storyteller] It’s a matter of picking up events and seeing how events relate to each other and seeing a beginning, middle and end,” he said. “That’s how we experience life.”
He said he is excited about speaking to high school journalists and their advisers about his profession and his experience.
“There is not a whole lot in the world I haven’t seen or experienced from crime to national news, and I think my experience would be valuable to hear,” Crossman said.
That drive and passion he brought to work then and now has never faded.
“Our industry chews and spits people up in a harsh way. I’m fortunate enough to where I’ve never gotten tired of it. I wake up and want to go to work today,” Crossman said.
Even now as a freelance writer, Crossman still enjoys what he does. He has gotten to experience many things in his job. He has gotten to be an extra in Talladega Nights: the Legend of Ricky Bobby as well as getting to go golfing and fishing with professional athletes.
These experiences have led him to some of the stories he is most proud of.
“I’m not going to write stories other people are going to write. Locker room interviews are boring. Interviews in the office are boring,” he said. “I’ve tried to go out and get people to do things with me…it’s just more fun.”
For more information follow Matt Crossman on Twitter at @MattCrossman_
For more of Matt Crossman’s award winning stories, find further readings here.
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