Article by Nick DeMent | Owl Staff
Matt Hubbard was on the scene in Washington D.C. at the 2020 “Swarm the Capitol” protest during President Trump’s impeachment hearings.
In the late afternoon of November 14, 2020 in Washington D.C., amidst the chaotic din of galvanized Trump supporters and ardent protesters, amongst the flying rubber bullets and blinding pepper spray, HCC graduate Matt Hubbard found himself surrounded.
Earlier in the day, it had been peaceful, if not quite rowdy, as hundreds to thousands of Trump supporters rallied to the capital to proclaim their faith in their leader’s claims of a stolen election. Later in the evening, however, they found themselves challenged by anti-Trump protesters. As violence began to broil, bubble, and then erupt, Hubbard found himself in the middle of this hot mess.
It was not his first time, however, reporting on a protest and it would not be his last. Just a couple months later, he would cover the January 6 Capitol Siege, shooting photography that would lead to a scholarship at Towson University. Earlier in the year, his student video editing for the 2020 “Swarm the Capitol” anti-Trump protest would lead to national recognition.
Matt Hubbard is a 2020 graduate of HCC who majored in the Journalism/New Media and Advertising program and served as Owl Magazine’s Technical Advisor from 2021-2022. When Hubbard started at HCC back in 2017, he was a hopeful high school graduate willing to face the challenges that come with college level academia. However, he wasn’t sure which major was for him. He did know one thing though; he needed to find something he could be passionate about.
He knew he loved adventure and traveling to new places and see ing new things, so he began to document his explorations as a hobby. “I got my license in 2016 and realized I could do whatever I wanted, so I began going to cool places all over and decided that I needed something to document my travels. This was when I found my passion for documentation and storytelling which led me to writing,” Hubbard says.
He knew he wanted to find a way to pursue these passions in a professional or educational sense, and that’s when it clicked. He found himself at the doorstep of Owl Magazine, where he began work as a photographer, videographer, and writer. It was clear from the beginning that Hubbard was talented, particularly in his videography and photography, and he acquired new skills that he employs to this day with his current employment as a political reporter at The Cecil Whig.
He recalls one experience as a student that was particularly formative. “A moment that stands out with Owl Magazine was when we set out to cover ‘Million Maga March.’ We were prepared to cover hundreds of Trump supporters and when we arrived in D.C., there wasn’t a soul on the National Mall,” says Hubbard. “The day seemed to be a letdown, but we hunted for a story and stumbled across an anti-Trump protest that led to two days’ worth of coverage.”
In 2020, Matt was also on the front lines in Washington D.C. and Baltimore City, covering the Black Lives Matters movement.”I realized the extreme nature of everything I did in D.C. from getting there, to walking numerous miles, to getting rocked by rubber bullets, was all to show the world that I am dedicated to journalism and bettering my craft and absolutely nothing was going to stop me from doing just that,” says Hubbard. “I went to the extreme and I do not regret it because it has all finally paid off.”
Hubbard believes the boots-on-the-ground approach that journalism often requires led to significant learning experiences. He shares that his time with Owl Magazine was key to this ability to be successful in the professional field and led to his employment with The Cecil Whig, where he currently works.
“My experiences with Owl Magazine have prepared me for my professional career because they really allowed me to understand the importance of being a self-starter and a team player. As a journalist, you are responsible for your work; no one is going to do it for you, so you need to be able to pick up a project, set your priorities and discipline, and execute that project,” says Hubbard. “Aim for perfection and never let yourself fall short of what you know is your best effort.”
Hubbard adds, “My time at The Whig has been absolutely phenomenal. I absolutely love it! I don’t even consider ‘working’ at the Whig as ‘work.’ It is pure passion, and I am happier than I have ever been,” he states. “Diving into stories, being as thorough as possible, setting goals for myself, exceeding my own standards, constantly competing with myself to get better and better with style and efficiency, there is no better feeling.”
Matt Hubbard’s passion for the field of journalism is palpable. His work stood out as exemplary time and time again as a student, and now, all of that hard work is paying off.