Photo by student featured on ‘Oprah’
One Drake student journalist recently received national coverage on a recent episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Matthew Smith, a junior magazine major of West Des Moines, has been covering Iowa’s historic decision to legalize gay marriage as a freelance contributor to Windy City Times, Chicago’s oldest gay publication.
In that effort, on Monday, April 27 — the first day gay couples could apply for marriage licenses — he captured approximately 400 photographs of Iowa couples, including Maryfrances Evans and Stephanie McFarland, of Urbandale.
That Wednesday, Evans and McFarland were asked to share their story on the Oprah Winfrey Show. In agreeing to do so, they needed to supply a photograph — which is where Smith came in.
“The show gave me a call, wanted to use my work, and I, of course, didn’t argue,” Smith said. “I mean, it’s Oprah. You don’t say no to Oprah.”
This photo of Maryfrances Evans and Stephanie Macfarland was one of nearly 400 of photos Smith took on April 27.
Smith submitted four photographs to the Oprah Winfrey Show, one of which appeared on the episode on May 1.
“It was a terrific payoff for a good job of journalism,” said Lori Blachford, Drake assistant professor of journalism.
Smith described his reaction as follows: “Stunned. Shocked. Surreal. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing YOUR NAME in the end credits of the Oprah Winfrey show.”
Smith became involved with Windy City Times through Blachford, who was contacted by Drake alumna and co-founder of the publication Tracy Baim, in search of a writer to cover the issue.
Smith will continue to contribute to Windy City Times, and is currently working on another piece about same-sex activists who reside in Mason City, Iowa.