Martin Reynolds comes to Fremont

Photo by: Jasmene Miranda

Bay Area native Martin Reynolds never planned on being a journalist. He found it by accident when he transferred to Merritt College and signed up for a class called, “Writing for Mass Media.” Now he’s an investigative journalist that works for the Center for Investigative Reporting promoting diversity in the media.

Reynolds came to Fremont High in December and spoke to students about his path to journalism and his experience working in the media industry.

According to Reynolds, one of the challenges of being a person of color in a very white and male-dominated industry is that he doesn’t always feel like he fits in. “Who I was as a person didn’t necessarily jive with the organization that I was in or the people that I was around,” Reynolds said.

His background as an artist and person of color always made him stand out. Before Reynolds became a journalist, he was a rapper in a hip-hop group called Ho-Flow. “The notion that you can be who you are as a person, you can bring to your work,” he said of his transition from artist to journalist. “Being a lyricist and songwriter made me a better storyteller and journalist. In many ways, I saw the world differently, not just professionally.”

One of the first stories that Reynolds published as a Merritt reporter was about the San Francisco earthquake in 1989, when the second floor of the Bay Bridge collapsed. He went to the I-80 freeway and wrote an article about it from a first person point of view.

In 2005, Reynolds graduated from the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education which focuses on promoting the fair and accurate coverage of communities of color by the media. Reynolds has also worked with San Francisco State University and University of California, Berkeley as a mentor to undergraduate and graduate journalism students.   

Reynolds did not just answer questions from students during his Fremont visit. He also asked every student in the classroom where they consumed their news and what interests them.

Some students shared with Reynolds what they plan to do in the future, and he provided them with some valuable feedback. “Don’t seek to be successful for the sake of proving others wrong. Seek to be successful because you want to give something,” Reynolds said.