CM Life alumna Sydney Smith shares her collegiate newsroom experience

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


In celebration of CM Life's upcoming 100 Year Anniversary, we asked alumna Sydney Smith to reflect on her time at CM Life and how it helped her get prepared for the job she has today.

Q: What year did you begin working for CM Life?

A: Fall of 2014.

Q: How long were you here?

A: Until I graduated in 2016.

Q: What position did you work in?

A: I started out as a reporter, then assistant student life editor, news editor, editor in chief and was last the managing editor.

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

A: My favorite parts working at CM Life were production nights, especially when we had a big story or issue coming out the next day. It was a lot of going over every detail of the paper, multiple times, debating about headlines, photos, etc. and it sounds pretty mundane, but at the same time we were bonding as journalists and people. My best friends to this day were people who worked in that newsroom with me. Most importantly, those people were there for the tough stories. When I covered the death of a student my last year at CM Life, I knew that I had the full support of the team, because we all wanted to do great work and give this story what it deserved, but they also understood that I was a human being and struggled through that time alongside the student body. We helped each other through all those times. I guess my favorite memories were us just being humans together - in the newsroom or at The Bird.

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

A: Working at CM Life gave me what I needed to succeed in any newsroom. At its foundation, CM Life taught me how to interview people effectively, how to write, edit and produce great journalism. It also taught me how to work in a team, recognizing the strengths each person brings to the table, because newspapering is a lot like working in an endless group project. CM Life taught me to ask for help when I need it. While at CM Life, I was able to become a better reporter, but also a better photographer, video editor, podcaster and human. These are all skills needed to be a good journalist today.

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

A: Yes! I love reading CM Life and am proud to have worked there. I read the online stories often, and sometimes go on Issuu to creep on the print editions.

Q: Where do you work now?

A: I am the real estate reporter at MiBiz.

Q: What advice do you have for current CM Lifers?

A: If you’re at CM Life, stay. Soak up every bit of college newsroom awesomeness. It is much tougher once you leave college, not only because more is expected of you, but because of the uncertainties in the journalism world in general. It’s a hard time to be a journalist. You need to make yourself indispensable. That means you need to know how to write, edit, take photos, video and make podcasts -- and there’s always more to learn. CM Life will give you all of this if you’re committed and immerse yourself. Also, some of my best work is still work I produced at CM Life. Don’t be afraid to investigate and take on big stories while in college. You might not get the chance right away afterward.

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.