It was his desire to move the needle in his career and mature as a journalist that led The Gramblinte’s former editor-in-chief to apply for a fellowship for one of the biggest news organizations in the world.
Justin Madden, 25, was announced one of the six Reuters-National Association of Black Journalists fellows.
“It’s very surreal,” said Madden “I’m really exciting for the opportunity and for the chance to learn more as a journalist and grow as much as I possibly can.”
For the next nine months, Madden will be reporting for the Chicago bureau focusing on the agriculture commodities markets.
Madden admitted he’s not exactly sure what agriculture commodities markets are, but he’s eager and open to the challenge.
“I’m going to stretch for it and I’m going to master it,” said Madden.
Madden is currently a digital-breaking news reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Kentucky, but plans to resign once his fellowship starts.
Madden came to Grambling in 2008 as a curious and unsure freshman, changing his major three times throughout his five years before firmly deciding on his major.
“J Madden got a radio show y’all!” What he always wanted to say on the radio when he worked for Joyce Evans, operations manager, with KGRM 91.5 radio station at Grambling.
Although, that never went through the radio airwaves, working at KGRM is what directed him to change his major for a third and final time, but to mass communication.
“I just wanted to get on the radio,” said Madden.
In addition to the radio station, the Los Angeles native served as senator of the Student Government Association, president of Grambling’s NABJ chapter, balanced working with the theater department and newspaper, while taking 15 hours as well as working two other jobs outside of Grambling.
Grambling, as a community, inspired Madden.
“People, who I call champions, who will pat you on your back, but will also kick you in your butt when you do wrong, who will also show you tough love when you need it, who will help you get that first, second, third, last job-those are the people who impact me the most.”
Students may feel inferior to others who come from Ivy League schools, however, half of the recipients including Madden all graduated from a historically Black college or university.
“The students from Grambling and other HBCUs, they have the ability to compete at the academic and professional level especially when it comes to the field of journalism and communication,” said Madden.
According to Madden, busting your butt, putting yourself in a position to network with people, and showing that you’ve invested in your craft as much as any ivy league student puts you in competition with the best of the best in the world.