I have a lot of great memories from my time at the Wildcat, including the moment I found myself trying to break up a near fight between two other of this year’s Young Alumni Award recipients (I’ll let you guess which two)! There was the dingy apartment converted newsroom at 1230 N. Park Avenue, which is where I got my start working as a page designer for legends like Jeff Sklar and Daniel Scarpinato. They are damn good newsmen and good people, too. It’s also where I met my best friend and best man, Brett Fera. There was a staff save full of quotes too offensive to be printed. The rush of working on a breaking news story and the relief of putting the paper to bed. Feeling like Woodward and Bernstein when I found myself banging on the ASUA President’s door when he wouldn’t return our phone calls. Celebrating a long, newsy day with a midnight bowl of tater tots at Grill. But more than anything, the Wildcat gave me a home on campus and a sense of purpose. There was no better place to learn how to report and, to paraphrase Sherman Miller, give a damn, then at the Wildcat. It’s where I finally understood the best way to learn journalism was to practice it daily. The Wildcat let me try and fail, which happened often. But I was a better reporter, writer, and editor because of it. To this day, whenever I write I still try to grab hold of the subject, knowing that the words will follow.
Aaron Mackey works at Georgetown Law as a staff attorney/clinical teaching fellow in the Institute for Public Representation. At IPR, Aaron works with law students to represent independent and minority media companies, public interest organizations, and nonprofits on media and communications law issues.
Prior to working at Georgetown, Aaron worked as the Jack Nelson Freedom of Information Legal Fellow at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. At the Reporters Committee, Aaron helped journalists across the country access public records under state and federal freedom of information laws and also wrote legal briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court, federal appellate courts, and state courts advocating for increased access to government records. As his nominator wrote, “(Aaron’s) efforts to serve the tenets of journalism – fighting for first amendment rights on a daily basis – make him a prime candidate for the Young Alumni award honor.”
Aaron graduated from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, Order of the Coif, in 2012. Prior to attending law school, Aaron worked as a reporter at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, covering local government, the military and higher education. As a reporter, Aaron regularly filed public records requests that formed the basis of his reporting. Aaron earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism and English from the University of Arizona in 2006. While at the UA, Aaron wore many hats at the Arizona Daily Wildcat, including editor in chief, assistant news editor, design editor, page designer, and reporter. He received both the Clyde Lowery Award for Professionalism & Integrity and the Donald Still Award for Service to the Wildcat. Aaron lives in Virginia with his wife Ashley and their dog, Bailey.