Alumni Profile: Tim Mata
Tim Mata C’10
After graduating from North Park in 2010, Tim Mata was browsing the social media news site reddit.com when he saw a job posting for someone with tech savvy and an interest in journalism and media literacy. It sounded like it was written for him.
The position was with the News Literacy Project, a national nonprofit organization that helps educators teach middle and high school students basic news literacy skills, like how to separate fact from fiction and how to discern opinion from news—skills that Tim believes are crucial to developing a well-informed youth that will become our future voters, workforce, and policy makers.
“We live in an age of choice where people have access to limitless sources of information, and it’s important to apply traditional standards of journalism to the Internet,” he said. “The rules of journalism and standards-based reporting haven’t changed, but they need to be applied to the digital age.”
Now as the national digital coordinator for the growing organization, he juggles the roles of webmaster and head of multimedia production. He is developing a new format for a curriculum that blends multimedia and computer-based training and will allow the organization to reach even more students as they learn how to become better news consumers.
Tim credits a journalism internship at Chicago Public Radio WBEZ 91.5, which he landed though his journalism professor and criminal and legal affairs reporter Robert Wildeboer, and his media studies courses for helping him understand instructional design and the importance of his organization’s mission—helping helping youth learn how to sort fact from fiction online. He also felt his mass media theory class, in particular, helped him realize how important it is for his organization to stay on message and not have a political agenda.
“Without mass media theory, I would not be able to contextualize what’s at stake,” he said. “I wouldn’t and be able to do what I do effectively.”