Rolling Stone Reporter: 'F&M Was The Right Place for Me'
One clear strength of Franklin & Marshall College throughout its 235-year history is its outstanding alumni. Today, its living graduates number more than 29,000 and stretch around the world. They are leaders at every level, committed to successful careers and meaningful lives.
They also are determined to support F&M and one another, continuing their quest for knowledge as they create the way forward together. While graduates of any age are Diplomats Forever, many of those making a difference in their communities are under 40. Several are featured in banners across the Franklin & Marshall campus and on the Diplomats Forever website. In this series, we'll introduce you to a few of our many alumni making a difference.
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Asawin Suebsaeng wanted to be one of two things when he graduated from Franklin & Marshall College: a rock musician or a political reporter.
The 2011 grad chose the latter, but as senior politics reporter for Rolling Stone, he frequently toes the line between politics and pop culture.
"In a country of more than 300 million people, I'm willing to say I'm the only one who went into journalism for the money," Suebsaeng joked.
The decision paid off. Today, his writing is splashed across the pages of Rolling Stone's magazine and website.
"The volume of things dialed up to 11 during the four years of Trump's presidency if you were a political reporter," Suebsaeng said.
It was a role he was ready for, thanks to an F&M education.
An English major, Suebsaeng is quick to credit his undergraduate writing and government professors, along with experience writing for The College Reporter. (He also was a singer, songwriter, pianist and harmonica player in a blues band throughout college — hence the musical aspirations).
"In my senior year at Franklin & Marshall, I applied to every single internship or fellowship or entry-level job I could. Just firing off resume after resume, cover letter after cover letter, package of clips after package of clips," Suebsaeng said.
His efforts earned him a six-month reporting fellowship at Mother Jones that led to full-time work.
Things took a dramatic turn in 2016.
"About a year after I get hired at the Daily Beast, a guy named Donald John Trump starts running for president of the United States. Love him or hate him, I think we can all objectively agree that he is the logical conclusion — if not extreme — of entertainment intersecting with American politics," he said.
The subsequent years produced Suebsaeng's first book, "Sinking in the Swamp: How Trump's Minions and Misfits Poisoned Washington." Co-authored with Lachlan Markay, "two of Washington's most meddlesome reporters" deliver an uncompromising account of the former president's campaign and term.
"I'd never expected to become a White House reporter before," Suebsaeng said. "I made my career transition into full-on politics reporter covering the modern American right wing and Republican party and conservative movement as it was shaped by Trump and Trumpism — a phenomenon that is still, of course, going on to this very day."
Suebsaeng stays afloat in the metaphorical swamp by adhering to journalism fundamentals instilled at F&M.
"The toolbox and the mechanics and the importance of holding powerful politicians and figures accountable â whether at home or abroad, whether they be of the left- or of the right-wing political parties — has remained constant in my times covering American politics and entertainment from the Obama administration, through the Trump administration, and now in the Joe Biden era," Suebsaeng said.
Looking back to when he first stepped on campus, does Suebsaeng have any regrets?
"I knew that F&M was the right place for me," he said. "There was never a moment where I regretted my decision. For my current job as a political reporter, there were so many things that helped prepare me in very predictable — but also unpredictable — ways."
In this 2016 video, Asawin Suebsaeng '11 discusses his previous career as a writer for The Daily Beast and how F&M helped him find his voice.
F&M was the right place for me. There was never a moment where I regretted my decision.
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