Two Alumni join NHIOP Director and Discuss Journalism and Politics

April 26, 2021

By Dennis Caron ’21

The “Get Connected, Stay Connected” program has played a significant role in re-connecting alumni with Saint Anselm College and providing networking opportunities for current students.  Hosted by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP), the program has been in place since 2014.  The program was held virtually this year and took the form of a series of interviews.

“The goal of this program is to offer students involved with the NHIOP an opportunity to engage with their peers, establish connections, network, and learn more about internships and job opportunities,” explained Ann Camann, deputy director of the NHIOP. “It also provides NHIOP alumni an opportunity to reflect on their experiences, share stories of their career paths, and fond memories of their time at SAC.”

Executive director of the NHIOP, Neil Levesque, welcomed Matthew Fuller ‘10 and Connor O’Brien ‘10 for each webinar to discuss current events and the impact that a liberal arts college has made on their careers.

Matthew Fuller currently covers Congress as a reporter for Huffington Post. Fuller was also in attendance during the January 6th riots on Capitol Hill. During a webinar titled “Covering the Capitol,” Fuller and Levesque discussed the events of the riots and his experience working on the Capitol. Matt also discussed many relevant topics surrounding media and journalism, specifically the impact that bias has made on events like the Capitol Hill riots.

Matt also discussed his decision to go into politics and journalism. While attending Saint Anselm College, Matt was a politics major who immensely enjoyed his philosophy courses. Matt remarked on the importance of philosophy in relation to journalism.

“We are here to tell hard truths...whether you like it or not, these are facts, we are here to convey those facts and report on the landscape of these things and the motivations of these actors, but we are not here to just report he-said she said. Journalism is very much related to philosophy… the essential element in both is truth”.

Levesque then asked Fuller a final question about how the college should react to the protest and, more specifically, how they should advise their students to consider the riots on Capitol Hill.

“Being from both New Hampshire and Saint Anselm College, there is a sense of valuing people’s opinions, whether you are a democrat or republican,” answered Fuller. “Something that needs to be added to this list is moral clarity. Professors need to be honest about this event and see it for what it is.”

During another webinar, “On Defense and Politics,” Neil Levesque interviewed alum Connor O’Brien ‘10. Connor currently works for POLITICO as a senior defense reporter. Neil and Connor discussed many topics covering the change of office between the Trump and Biden administrations. O’Brien also discussed many other issues regarding national defense, including China, vaccine distribution, and the role diversity and inclusion plays in defense politics.

Connor also mentioned his senior thesis and found that the research and development needed to complete the assignment relates to journalism as a whole.

“You develop the idea, do the research, and create the argument, then you put it through the wringer, and then you have to stand up for what you wrote. That is a key tenet of journalism; you need to write something you can stand behind.”

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