Fullerton Scholar, Justin Patrick, develops new skill set

By Desiree Raven

What does a student do after graduating from Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in literary arts and political science? For Justin Patrick, it was to attend Colorado Mountain College to obtain his associate degree in digital journalism from the Isaacson School for New Media.

Patrick graduated from Brown in 2007 and then came back home to Colorado. He had always wanted to write but found himself a little lost after graduating. He ended up in Telluride in an unpaid internship writing for the local newspaper, the Telluride Daily Planet, and had to take jobs as both a ski instructor and bartender. He thought about attending a journalism school in order to pursue the writing career he always dreamed of having. However, every journalist he talked to reiterated the advice not to attend journalism school. They instead told him it was more important to have a digital skill set as the future of storytelling was changing.

Thinking of this, Patrick started looking into digital media schools and found the Isaacson School for New Media while doing a Google search. The location appealed to him and he applied for a scholarship.

“I couldn’t afford to go back to school,” Patrick said. “I figured I would apply for a scholarship and if I got one then I would attend this school.”

He was awarded the Fullerton Family Scholarship, which paid for his two-year degree program at the Isaacson School.

“This scholarship gave me the means and motivation to go back to school,” Patrick said.

While in the program, he learned about digital publishing in a class taught by Isaacson School Director Rob Martin. Patrick liked the challenge of finding new ways to tell a story. He was able to ride with EcoFlight and learn about protecting wild lands and wildlife habitat. He took this trip and turned it into an online digital piece that included a story about the experience including multimedia pieces such as maps, graphs and charts.

Patrick is now working as a co-author and editor with water rights attorney Ken Ransford on a book about water policy. He graduated this May with an associate degree in digital journalism and is the first person to obtain this degree from the Isaacson School. He is happy he decided to come back to school and feels he has a new skill set that is needed in the contemporary journalism world.