Alumnus Eric Dresden shares his CM Life story
In a series of interviews, we asked our Alumni about their experiences at CM Life. Read on to see how Eric Dresden shares his "Life Story."
In celebration of CM Life's upcoming 100 Year Anniversary, we asked alumnus Eric Dresden to reflect on his time at CM Life and how it helped him get prepared for the job he has today.
Q: What year did I start at CM Life?
A: I started in the fall of 2008, two weeks after I got on campus. I found myself with some available time and wanted to get involved in something at CMU. I immediately applied and got started, before I knew it, I was in the office as much as I was in my dorm.
Q: How long were you there?
A: Days. Nights. Weekends. Before class. After class. Sometimes during class. When wasn’t I there? I ended my time at CM Life in December 2012 to begin freelancing before my first job. Then graduated in 2013.
Q: What position(s) did you work in?
A: I working in a number of reporting and editing positions but was most proud of a summer semester and three fall/spring semesters as Editor-in-Chief.
Q: What were some of the highlights or favorite memories whiles working for CM Life?
A: There are too many to list. There are a ton of stories and moments that stand out, stories I still tell every once in a while and jokes that I still make with friends from my time at CM Life.
One that sticks out is a faculty strike on the first day of classes during my first day as Editor-in-Chief. Teachers were outside with picket signs, our office phones were ringing off the hook and emails were coming through faster than we could respond. It was one of those “make or break” moments for an entire staff. We were all young, relatively untested but took the challenge head-on. It led to a semester of exceptional stories and amazing in-depth reporting from colleagues that I still am in awe of.
Q: How did your experience at CM Life influence your career?
A: It made me look at every challenge as an opportunity. There were days where mentally we were exhausted, physically we were dead and, yet, those were some of the times we put together the best newspapers. I learned to rationalize every decision and be able to explain that on a daily basis. It wasn’t abnormal for a friend, colleague or professor to ask “Why is that on the front page?” I loved being able to give a detailed, thorough response as to the staff’s decision.
From the moment I walked in the door, we always looked at ourselves as a professional newspaper. Sure, we were “student-run” but many of us had internships, jobs lined up and were talented beyond belief. Every reporter, photographer, designer and editor made daily decisions that impacted the final product. That meant acting like it - sure, we had a ton of fun, but we also worked more than we slept at times.
Each day there was some new lesson, some that I had to learn at the time and others that hit me years later. Even today I run into something that reminds me of a lesson learned at CM Life. Most of all, I am thankful for the relationships both with co-workers and professionals at CMU and Mount Pleasant that I built during my time. I made a lot of friends and still keep in contact with some sources from my time at CM Life.
Q: Do you still keep up with CM Life regularly?
A: Yes, I’m a fan of great journalism and that means I’m always a fan of CM Life.
Q: Where do you work now?
A: I spent some time in journalism before transitioning into marketing and public relations. Currently, I’m a marketing analyst at Walbridge, a global construction management company headquartered in Detroit.
The 100 Year Anniversary celebration will be at Soaring Eagle Casino and Conference Center on Nov. 16 at 5 p.m. Click here to purchase tickets. They must be purchased by Nov. 13 at 4 p.m. in order to attend.