For over 15 years, Justin Kmitch has filed thousands of stories as a reporter for the suburban Chicago newspaper, the Daily Herald. He’s covered everything from breaking news stories to ongoing cases in the courtroom.
Kmitch’s own story began at Moraine Valley Community College in 1995.
Thinking he wanted to pursue journalism as a career path, Kmitch enrolled in Moraine Valley right out of Argo High School because it was the logical place to start.
“In the most basic ways, Moraine Valley afforded me the opportunity to continue my education,” said Kmitch. “The college was close to home, and it allowed me to discover and be sure of my career path.”
Kmitch got hands-on experience and tested out what it was like to be a reporter on the college’s bi-weekly newspaper, the Glacier. The Glacier was established in 1968.
“I got a head start in my career at only 18-years-old,” said Kmitch. “I got to do everything on the Glacier—from advertising sales to producing content to creating layout.”
Kmitch credits then-advisors Linda Profetto, Tony Wedick, and Ted Powers for their mentoring while he was editor-in-chief.
“I learned how to produce a professional publication while on the Glacier,” said Kmitch. “It was real experience and learning from talented advisors who pushed us to do our best.”
While his experience on the Glacier gave him the foundation for his career, he says his entire Moraine Valley experience impacted how he deals with people.
“Going to Moraine Valley, I had my first experience where I had to meet a lot of new people,” said Kmitch. “I went to kindergarten through high school with the same kids, so coming to Moraine Valley, I had to learn to be comfortable and adapt to new people.”
Kmitch said many of the new people he met 20 years ago are the same friends he has 20 years later.
“What can I say? Moraine Valley helped me grow and establish who I am today,” said Kmitch. “The college provided me with so many opportunities 20 years ago, and I am sure there are even more opportunities for students today.”
After building his foundation at Moraine Valley, Kmitch went on to Eastern Illinois University to earn a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield.
Kmitch has enjoyed his long career with the Daily Herald, and the busy husband and father of three also finds time to volunteer. From being guest speaker in the college classroom to judging newspaper competitions for students, he gives back when he can.
“I encourage students to find something to be involved in and give it a shot,” said Kmitch. “It might change their life, much like how the Glacier and Moraine Valley changed mine.”