Communication Department alum shares wisdom at Purser Hewitt Lecture

photo courtesy of Kyle Martin/ originally published February 2014

Almost a decade ago, the two daughters of Clarion-Ledger editor Purser Hewitt decided to fund a journalism lectureship program at Mississippi College.

This lecture has allowed for journalism educators and practicing journalists, including syndicated columnist Charlie Mitchell and Marshall Ramsey of the Clarion-Ledger, to share their experiences and knowledge with communication students.

The chosen speaker for this year’s Purser Hewitt lecture is Kyle Martin, the marketing publications specialist for the Wounded Warrior Project. Martin graduated from Mississippi College in August 2004, majoring in journalism and minoring in Spanish.

Even though Martin currently serves in more of public relations role, he said that he still gets to be a storyteller and he has lots of journalism experience to share.

“The lecture is a chance once a year to show all the communication students that there is work to be had and a life to be lived in journalism,” said Journalism Professor Tim Nicholas, who is in charge of choosing the lecturer.

The lecture will take place at noon Tuesday, March 4, in Anderson Hall above the Cafeteria with a free luncheon for communication students.

Anyone wishing to hear Martin speak is welcome to attend Nicholas’s journalism classes Tuesday, March 4, at 1:30 p.m. in Aven 105, Wednesday at noon in Aven 112 and at 1:30 p.m. in Aven 114. Martin will also be speaking to the Collegian staff in the publication’s office in Alumni that Tuesday at 4 p.m.

After graduation, Martin worked as a reporter at The Greenwood Commonwealth in Greenwood, Miss., in 2005 and moved to Spring Hill, Fla., in 2006, where he worked for The Hernando Today for 3 years.

He also briefly attended Marine Corps’ officer candidate school before going to work for The Augusta Chronicle in Augusta, Ga., where he covered stories for Fort Gordon and other veterans’ issues.

Martin said that this experience helped him discover a passion for “putting a human face to veterans issues, including PTSD, unemployment, and homelessness.”

Now Martin works for the Wounded Warrior Project as the publications specialist in the marketing department. The program helps America’s physically and emotionally wounded veterans adapt back into life after combat.

Martin is essentially reporter, editor, and publisher. His responsibilities include overseeing the budget, photos, assigning and editing stories, and all of the content for the quarterly magazine, as well as producing an annual policy agenda, an annual report, and other promotional publications.

He also said that while he thoroughly enjoys being a journalist, he admits that it is not always the most secure career. He has had to work in sales and also deliver pizzas in between jobs, but he assured that he “wouldn’t trade the amazing behind-the-scenes experiences” for anything.

“I’m excited and honored to be chosen for this lecture,” said Martin. “Hopefully students will learn from some of the mistakes I’ve made over the years and take away a fresh passion for entering this exciting field.”

He said that he believes experience is “invaluable in journalism.” He hopes to offer advice to students on sources, creating fresh angles, and the influence of online journalism today, as well as discuss the real challenges that the career brings.

Currently Martin lives in Jacksonville, Fla., with his wife Rebekah, also a MC communication alum, and his five children: Christopher, Madeleine, Caleb, and 3-month-old twins Victoria and Samantha.

– Abbie Walker, News Editor

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A freelance writer from the Deep South with a love of reading, writing, dramatic storytelling, indie music, and her corgi pup.

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