Professor Mark Shavin gives insight into his four-decade journalism career

Professor Mark Shavin talks about his career in the media, and as a Journalism professor at Georgia State. Photo Submitted by Mark Shavin

Whether teaching a group of eager, prospective journalism students or investigating a breaking news story in the field, Georgia State professor Mark Shavin has been in the journalism field for over four decades.

Shavin saw storytelling as a gift and knew that he was meant to write stories from a young age. Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination lit a fuse that kick-started his passion for journalism. 

“[His assassination] woke me and my conscience up,” Shavin said. “That’s when I thought more about the world and how I wanted to be more invested in it.”

Shavin began collecting and saving newspaper clips in a booklet. As a college freshman, he found one he had saved about a man who lost his memory following brain surgery. 

As a college freshman, Shavin reached out to the man’s family wishing to write a book about their experience, a story he hopes to publish after years of work and dedication. After meeting the family and hearing their story of love and strength, Shavin was changed forever, taking that experience with him throughout his career.

“I made this promise to this woman who shared her story with me 40 years ago, so I wanted to fulfill it,” Shavin said.

Reaching out to them resulted in his interest in journalism, writing and listening to people’s stories.

After graduating college and with only $900 in his bank account, Shavin packed up his things and drove to Los Angeles, where he found a job at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner.

Over the years, Shavin has worked for Fox 5 News, Channel 2 and CNN. His work is featured in many respected papers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Los Angeles Times. He wrote for The Washington Post about meeting the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which was the most-read story in the paper that day.

During his four-decade-long career, he spent most of his time in broadcast media and newspapers, but he wanted to try something new. Shavin looked back at his life and began to think of ways to reach further and fulfill his goals.

“‘What did I always want to do that I had never done?’ That was the question I was trying to answer,” he said.

The answer was teaching. Shavin received his graduate degree in narrative nonfiction at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia. While he still loves the art of storytelling, he now shares his passion with his students.

When speaking to prospective journalists or his students, Shavin always gives crucial advice for an enjoyable career and life.

“There are so many platforms today to be a storyteller, so many more today than there were when I was coming up,” he said. “Make sure you’re having fun in your job and that you are enjoying what you are doing and being kind while doing it.”