McKenzie Leary/The Broadside
Mike Smith says journalists have to have five qualities. Integrity, toughness, the ability to see through crap, the ability to tell stories and the desire to learn. He will help students see these features in themselves and realize their full potential with his Basics of Journalism class. The student body is thrilled to welcome Mike Smith to the Journalism Department at COCC.
Smith was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. By the age of 13, he knew his calling was to be a sports anchor. Smith graduated with his Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Washington. He then went on to receive his Masters in Television News from Syracuse University.
When Smith was first starting, he received the opportunity to fulfill his dream and be a weekend sports anchor for KTVZ news. He then moved to Europe on a whim. Upon his return he ran into his general manager who was at a wedding he was attending. His manager relayed to him that he would get bored of covering sports if he continued because “there are only so many ways to say ‘The Bears beat the Cougars’, or ‘The Bears knocked off the Cougars.’ He told me I would not be challenged. He was 100% right.”
At this point, Smith’s career took an unforeseen turn, and he decided to pursue the news.
“From that point, there was no looking back,” said Smith. “I’ve always liked to learn. I’ve always loved to read. I’ve always loved studying stuff I’ve never heard of.”
Smith was involved in every aspect of journalism you can imagine. He’s written weekly missives for The Baltimore Sun as he traveled the world on a sailboat called Pride of Baltimore ll. He’s also held various positions as a news reporter, photographer, researcher, writer, news director, and anchor for places like KTVZ, “Inside Deschutes County” TV Magazine show, “Inside USA Shooting” TV Magazine show and COTV.
When Smith was not out voraciously researching, he was guest teaching, speaking at seminars or coaching his kids. This is Smith’s first year in a “real” teaching job. When asked what drove him to pursue being a teacher here at COCC, he mentioned a specific moment between him and his wife.
“She said I care about inspiring kids and young adults… and think it’s important, especially today when there are so many reasons for young people to be discouraged with the world.”
Smith is joining COCC with passion running through his veins. Teaching allows him to participate in all his favorite things, coaching, journalism and honing his skills in learning.
He hopes to inspire his students and fuel their curiosity while teaching them how to educate others in a way that is credible and without bias. Smith believes that there has to be accountability within the media now more than ever when journalism doesn’t follow those two things.
Smith is bringing his experience and drive to the Journalism Department here at COCC, and on behalf of the staff at The Broadside, welcome to COCC Mike Smith.