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Meet Christian McMahon: Mentor with the News Watch

The Californian brings even more sunshine to his work with Florida journalism students.

Christian McMahon is a California outdoorsman, writer, and disability advocate. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Arc of California, a nationally affiliated nonprofit that works to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He is working on a memoir and loves to observe the native and migratory birds that call his patch of California home.

Hi! You're a writer, which we love, and your work is narrative and focuses on the outdoors, disabilities, identity and conveying these experiences, and you're based in southern California. What brought you to the News Watch?

CD brought me to the News Watch! To make a short story long, CD was a student in a writing program I worked for in the French Alps. She impressed me with the integrity, humanity, and joy she brought to her work as a then undergraduate, so we kept up throughout the years.

Building on #1, what are you looking forward to with working with younger writers and helping build out from their work?

My disability means traditional pathways to education and employment range from challenging to impossible. The relationships I have sought out and nurtured with mentors and friends (and "friendtors") in the writing world have been pivotal to my success. I look forward to being able to pay forward all of the advice and help that I benefited from along my path. Essentially, I aim to demystify the publishing and editing process for student journalists.

What do you love most about California's environments and outdoors?

Oooof, so much to choose from! This is where I could nerd out for fifty thousand words or so. I’ll spare you all that, and just say – the variety. In a given month I have SCUBA-dived in kelp forests, camped nestled in pines and aspen at 10,000 feet in the Sierras, and wandered through the desert in Joshua Tree.

What is one or two things you'd love for young writers to know?

I want young writers to know that every professional writer edits, and that’s a great thing, and that there is no single path to publication. If they learn to follow their interests and work on subjects that they believe in that they can make a career.


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