Alumni Spotlight

Matt Solomon

Why did you choose your major? 

I actually began my NIU career as a design major in the art department. I joined the forensics team during my first semester, fell in love with speech writing and performance and made the switch before Christmas. (I still doodle pictures of clients, though.)

How did your major help prepare you for what you are doing now?

I'm a lucky cat. I've held several communications jobs over the years, including public relations specialist, managing editor of trade publications, creative director for a video production company, author of two novels, and contributor for The Onion.  My participation in forensics was crazy valuable for honing both my writing and presentation skills -- couldn't recommend it more for sharpening the creative blade. Just do it already!

What do you feel is special about the NIU program? 

The forensics program really pushed me to take classroom skills into the real world, competing against other students from across the country. Made dozens of friends who became professional colleagues and contacts (and in one case, a spouse). I really appreciate that NIU gave me the opportunity get up in public, fail, and try again. It's the only way to get good.

Why would you recommend your major program to other students?

As a radio/TV/film major, I'm not sure I would recognize my program these days. We cut film -- real physical film -- with razor blades, then stitched a story back together with scotch tape. Get off my lawn! The mechanics of what I learned at NIU have evolved dramatically. That's why I encourage prospective media students to learn the software, but don't get too attached to the mechanics. What stands strong, always, is the ability to tell a story, provoke a chuckle, elicit a tear, quicken a pulse and maybe change a mind. Learn that and you're golden. 

Is there anything you would like to tell prospective students? 

Join forensics already. Write for fun. And remember, gang, social media is forever.

B.A. Communication Studies, 1986

M.A. Communication Studies, 1988

Managing Editor for StoryBridge Studio; fiction and comedy writer