CMR alumni AJ Mazzolini visits past halls, talks to students


Speaking to 4th period Newspaper Workshop, Mazzolini gives tips on interviewing.

Shayna Leonard

Deciding to take Newspaper Workshop his junior year, AJ Mazzolini knew that he would have a “fun teacher”. However, he had no clue that this class would pave the way for his future career.

Upon graduating CMR high school in 2007, Mazzolini first began his future in mathematics, but fell back to journalism when the major didn’t satisfy him.

“When it’s tough, go back to preparation,” Mazzolini said. He is now a graduate of the University of Montana and has interned at the Missoulian, the Great Falls Tribune, and the Columbus Ohio Dispatch, which has a circulation of about 150,000.

“I got to cover a lot of different areas in journalism,” he said. This included articles from something light such as streets named after Harry Potter, to serious pieces such as a 14 year old who was diagnosed with leukemia.

However, Mazzolini’s forte is the wide world of sports.

“It’s my baby,” he said, referring to articles on sports. One of his most memorable moments is getting to interview world renowned tennis player, Serena Williams, whom he described as “soft spoken” and “quite funny”.

Mazzolini spent last Wednesday, Sept. 7, guest speaking for Beth Britton’s journalism classes. He covered a variety of tips on interviewing, from preparation to finding the right sources. He provided a plethora of journalistic advice.

“Go into every assignment as if it’s interesting,” he said. “Find a person, making it about a person; people like to read about people.”

He also explained how he became the journalist he is today.

“A lot of growth in my writing came from writing things I didn’t know about,” he said.

Mazzonlini is now freelancing for the Missoulian and the Great Falls Tribune covering mostly sports. He hopes to find a job in a bigger city, however.

He said that working as a reporter may be stressful, but “sometimes you come across something that makes it totally worth it, Oh man there’s the news.”