Mark W. Smith: CM Life was the first place I learned how newsrooms work, and what excellence is.

In a series of interviews, we asked our Alumni about their experiences at CM Life. Read on to see how Mark W. Smith shares his "Life Story."


In celebration of CM Life's upcoming 100 Year Anniversary, we asked alumna Mark W. Smith 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 you begin working at CM Life?

A: I started at CM Life in the fall of 2004 as a staff photographer. This was my junior year, so I got a bit of a late start.

Q: How long were you here?

A: I spent three school years at CM Life. I was on the five-year plan, so I had two senior years.

Q: What position did you work in?

A: I started as a staff photographer as my concentration was photo journalism. In Spring 2005 I was Assistant Photo Editor. Fall 2005 I was Photo Editor. Spring 2006, Art Director, and Fall 2006 to Spring 2007 I was Editor in Chief.

Q: What were some of the highlights or favorite memories while working for CM Life?

A: Editorially, the highlight was our coverage of the so-called CMU Promise, which was supposed to freeze tuition costs for students. We found a group of students whose tuition had actually increased and by the end of the fall semester, those students were given refunds because of our tireless coverage. Apart from that, the highlights are the friendships built during that time. I still keep in touch with many of them, and that network has been a great asset to me personally and professionally.

Q: How did your experience at CM Life influence your career?

A: CM Life was the first place I learned how newsrooms work, and what excellence is. It’s also the first place I was able to step forward as a newsroom leader – something that still informs my career to this day.

Q: Do you still keep up with CM Life regularly?

A: Not especially! I check in when something big happens at Central, though.

Q: Where do you work now?

A: I’m the Director of Social and Operations at The Washington Post.

Q: What advice would you give to current CM Lifers?

A: Work hard and enjoy those late nights in the newsroom. You’ll learn more during those hours than during any class.

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.