Matthew Hurtt: school reporter turned professional


Shamani Salahuddin

Matthew Hurts speak to the Blackman Voice staff in the courtyard.

Sienna Phillips and Mia Isom

Blackman alumnus Matthew Hurtt advanced from being a news reporter for The Blackman Voice, to a freelance reporter, to working for a non-profit organization. 

“I think the most important thing that I learned at Blackman, and particularly on the newspaper, is working together to reach a deadline. I learned to work with people who have different personalities, different writing styles, and different levels of organizational skills. Now I do that in the real world where my team is all over the country,” said Hurtt.  

Hurtt is a proud Blackman alumnus and is thankful for the learning experiences he retained. He had many meaningful experiences while on the newspaper staff at Blackman. 

“You’re rolling the dice when you bring in a freshman, and that’s what Ms. Walker did to me in 2001,” said Hurtt. 

Hurtt currently works for an organization called American for Prosperity Foundation, which has him traveling in 36 different states across the country. He works with many community groups who on topics that he is passionate about. 

“I think it’s important to find outlets you disagree with. I read a lot of things I disagree with to see where the argument is coming from,” stated Hurtt. 

Hurtt currently works with a team of forty people with diverse backgrounds who live in different parts of the country. Organization and communication skills are keys to the success of the team. 

“To be able to work with them collaboratively to create a good product is something that I learned at Blackman, particularly on the newspaper staff,” Hurtt said. 

While at Blackman, he recalls writing a column called “Chat with the Law” where he would talk with the SROs (yes, Officer Meshotto!) about school issues.  

“Officer Nelson was the guy who was here in the beginning. It was more likely his idea than mine. We did it probably once a month, so we only had to come up with about 10 topics,” said Meshotto. 

Having great social skills and being able to work with people from different backgrounds is important in the real world, and many people learn these aspects in their younger life.  

“Matt has always been a wordsmith, even as early as the seventh grade, where I first taught him at Smyrna Middle School. He loves words, and he uses them in meaningful ways. I am always thrilled to see one of our alumni succeed, but I am especially thrilled when the roots of that career were discovered at Blackman,” stated Lois Walker, adviser to The Blackman Voice. 

For Hurtt, the skills he learned at Blackman helped him create an unusual career that not only interests him but also reaches many others.