Senior profile: Fiona Matney

By Lauren Felder, Editor-in-Chief

Applying to non-fiction as a sophomore was the most formative accident of senior Fiona Matney’s high school experience. A prerequisite to joining The Tam News, this class she hadn’t intended to take captivated underclassman Matney, her math and science classes failing to do the same. She often found herself passing time in these other periods writing and revising her latest articles, familiarizing herself with the esteemed Associated Press style, and finding a world of stories in the news genre. By the end of her second semester with charismatic Jonah Steinhart as a teacher, Matney knew she wanted to continue to The Tam News. When she signed up for classes that spring, advanced journalism consciously made Matney’s list and a promising two years lay ahead of her.

“I realized that it’s much more rewarding to pursue something you like, rather than something that everybody thinks is the best. There’s a lot of hype around STEM majors and everything and while that’s great if that’s what you like, it’s not for everyone,” Matney said.

With graduation on the horizon and plans to pursue journalism at the Santa Barbara City College this fall, Matney has been reflecting on these past few years. This recent rumination has allowed her to realize that, like many students, several classes she chose were motivated too heavily by external forces rather than genuine interest.

“I wish I pursued more English courses because in all honesty, I hate AP chemistry and I hate AP Calculus, and I’m in both of those classes. I think it’s going to be much better for you as a person to take courses that are going to keep you engaged and encourage you to be excited about learning,” Matney said.

From serving as a reporter, news editor, and, most remarkably, an editor-in-chief (EIC), she has no doubt been “a force of positivity and change” for The Tam News, ideals Matney promised in her 2022-2023 EIC application. Through her consistent and significant involvement with the publication, Matney will be walking away with ageless wisdom. 

“It’s so important in journalism to push yourself out of your comfort zone and do things that really make you uncomfortable. I hated interviews at the very beginning … and now I think it’s one of the greatest things in the world to be able to talk to people that you would never talk to otherwise. That’s just how important it is to take that step and make sure that you pursue the things that you wouldn’t normally,” Matney said.