As an editor at TheWall Street Journal in London, Brad Reagan ’94 is a testament to the unforeseen paths that a career can take. Upon graduating from Southwestern, Reagan was unsure where his career would lead him. His life took an unexpected turn when, on a whim, he applied for a job writing obituaries at a local Waco newspaper. This seemingly impulsive decision sparked a passion for storytelling, propelling him into journalism. Though he graduated with a degree in American studies, he has explored diverse areas such as sports, local news, and high-stakes financial reporting.

Reagan’s early career saw him working at a local paper, followed by graduate school in Missouri, where he honed his journalistic skills. “I found it enjoyable and interesting writing about people’s lives. Writing about real individuals brings a sense of responsibility that fiction doesn’t offer. It keeps you engaged in the real world,” Reagan recalled. “Newsrooms are exciting places to be; there’s a lot of energy, and you get caught up in the story of the moment. I didn’t grow up wanting to be a journalist, but it’s worked out.” Reagan’s journalistic endeavors have taken him all over the country, from New York to California and now across the pond in London. He has covered diverse subjects, from reporting on Wall Street and the aftermath of the financial crisis to exploring sports at the Olympics and delving into investigations on Facebook and other tech-related topics. His approach stems from his Southwestern education, fostering a broad view of the cultural landscape, which he applies to keep his perspective fresh and stimulating.

While Reagan’s career as a reporter took various turns, he later transitioned to freelance writing and authored several books. However, it was the shift to editing that surprised him and became the defining moment of his career. When the chance to return to London, a city he wanted to revisit after studying abroad there as an undergraduate, arose, he seized the opportunity. Now serving as an editor at TheWall Street Journal in London, Reagan finds immense satisfaction in assisting writers to succeed. He emphasizes the joy of contributing to someone else’s accomplishment and guiding them through the intricacies of storytelling. His role has evolved into refining writing skills, offering support and encouragement, and sometimes navigating the complexities of legal and internal issues.

In a world where journalism faces evolving challenges, Reagan highlights the importance of fairness and nonpartisan storytelling. He acknowledges the challenges of a polarized world and values the journalistic duty to provide readers with a nuanced understanding of various perspectives. “It’s baked into our DNA to try to tell a story that is fair to all sides,” Reagan said. “One of the things that I like about journalism is that it forces me to understand the perspectives of other people and where they’re coming from and explain that to a whole range of readers, regardless of their stance.” He believes that, at its best, journalism helps bridge gaps between differing viewpoints and fosters a more informed public.

Reagan’s experiences highlight the importance of staying open to unexpected paths and the evolution of one’s professional identity. He advises current Southwestern students to remain adaptable, curious, and open-minded. Notably, he emphasizes the profound impact of a liberal arts education, citing its crucial role in honing essential skills–critical thinking, effective writing, and a deep understanding of the world. His advice is grounded in the wisdom gained from his experiences: stay adaptable, foster curiosity, and embrace the interdisciplinary nature of learning. It is the key to a successful and impactful career.