Robb Murray: The Man Who Never Left
Working as a reporter and editor for The Free Press for more than 20 years and Mankato Magazine for 10, Murray’s passion for storytelling has only gotten stronger since starting his career in journalism at The Reporter in 1992.
However, Murray didn’t always want to be a journalist. He actually wanted to be a pilot. “I went to the University of North Dakota to be a pilot my freshman year because I saw ‘Top Gun’ and thought I could be Tom Cruise,” states Murray. However, he quickly found out he suffers from motion sickness, which promptly ended his dream of flying.
After realizing being a pilot was not in the cards, Murray moved back home to St. Paul, Minnesota for a bit and started taking classes at Century College. He wrote a short story for their magazine, The MUSE. “That is when I decided I wanted to be a writer,” he said.
During that time, Murray met Amy, who would later become his wife. She was attending Minnesota State Mankato, so he made the decision to transfer from Century to be with her.
“My wife was the one who actually prompted me to get a job working for The Reporter," Murray says. "Within two weeks, I was absolutely hooked. Everything was so new and fresh and exciting. I fell in love with being able to tell other people’s stories and getting the opportunity to meet new people every day.”
After working as reporter and editor for The Reporter for three years – including two years as editor-in-chief – Murray graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications and Political Science in 1995. However, he didn't go far.
“Not long after I graduated, I still wanted to be a part of The Reporter," he says. "It was the most fun I’ve ever had as a journalist.”
Murray remained part of The Reporter as an informal advisor on and off from 2000-2019. He was also on the Newspaper Board most years after graduation.
In 2020, Murray was given the opportunity to work at The Reporter as a consultant. For the past three years, he has been able to advise students and help them write their own stories.
Every Monday and Wednesday, which are knows as "production nights", Murray is in the newsroom helping students wrap up their next editions. He's also available for phone calls from student reporters regarding their work. “Sometimes I get calls at 10:30-11:00 at night and I absolutely love answering their questions,” he says.
Since 2020, Murray has been able to implement workshops for student writers at The Reporter regarding interview skills, headline and lead writing and improving their overall reporting and writing skills.
“Next year we have plans to schedule workshops where we bring in other journalists so they can hear from other voices instead of just mine,” Murray adds. “We also have plans to take a really good piece of writing and dissect it so students can learn what works and what doesn’t.”
Murray’s passion for journalism and working with students is evident through his continuous work at The Reporter and throughout his career at The Free Press and Mankato Magazine. He can best be described as the man who never left.