40 Under 40 honoree profile: Greg Bluestein

40 Under 40 honoree profile: Greg Bluestein

August 27, 2021

Join us for a panel discussion
“A Message to My Younger Self”
featuring five of our 40 under 40 nominees.
Friday, Sept. 10
10 a.m. • Studio 100
Due to limited capacity, reservations are required by Sept. 7 to ugagrady@gmail.com
Guests are encouraged to wear masks.

Seven Grady College graduates are represented in this year’s UGA Alumni Association 40 under 40 class. Profiles of several can be found after this feature. Grady College alumni honored in 2021 include:

  • Angela Alfano (ABJ ’10, AB ’10)
  • Jennifer Bellamy (ABJ ’08)
  • Greg Bluestein (ABJ ’04, AB ’04)
  • Marie Greene Broder (ABJ ’06, AB ’06, JD ’10)
  • Bowen Reichert Shoemaker (ABJ ’06)
  • Brittany Thoms (ABJ ’04)
  • Raquel D. Willis (ABJ ’13)

We are proud of their successes and are pleased to highlight them in their own words.

Greg Bluestein accepts Young Alumni Award from Dean Davis
Greg Bluestein accepts the Young Alumni Award from Dean Charles Davis in April 2014.

Greg Bluestein (ABJ ’04, AB ’04) is a political reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. As a political reporter, Bluestein covers the governor’s office and state politics. He joined the newspaper in June 2012 after spending seven years with the Atlanta bureau of The Associated Press, where he covered a range of beats including politics and legal affairs. He contributes to the AJC’s Political Insider blog and is writing a book, “How the Peach State turned Purple,” about the 2020 Georgia elections. He discussed the publication process, the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol and identifying local angles in national stories in this episode of The Lead podcast.

Bluestein received the College’s John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award in 2014, and he was the Spring 2021 Grady Convocation speaker.

Grady College: What lessons learned from your time as a Grady College student have most helped you succeed in your professional life?

Greg Bluestein: I learned that absolutely nothing beats experience. I was so glad to take advantage of the opportunities that Grady College and UGA afforded me: the chance to work for The Red & Black, interview presidential candidates and U.S. senators, travel to Washington for symposiums and get right into the thick of practicing journalism. My academic experience helped prepare me for internships across the nation, and positioned me to land fulfilling professional work after graduating.

GC: What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?

Bluestein: I would tell myself that it’s OK not to land your dream job out of college. That building a career is a construction project that starts with a foundation and goes up from there. Just because you’re not where you want to be at 22 doesn’t mean you’ve somehow fallen flat. Oh, and to keep enjoying college. My four years at UGA really were some of the best of my life.

GC: Is there a piece of advice from one of your Grady College professors that still guides you today?

Bluestein: The late, great Conrad Fink always reminded us to think of “the little old lady in Keokuk.” He wanted his students to remember that our work has a vast impact, shaping the views of people we may never meet. Fink also taught his legions of students a code of ethics and standards that we strive to abide by. I still think WWFD — What Would Fink Do — when I’m confronted with a tough decision or prickly situation.

Conrad Fink and Greg Bluestein
Conrad Fink and Greg Bluestein ca. 2004. (Photo: submitted)
GC: How has your field evolved since your graduation to now?

Bluestein: It’s hard to keep up with how many ways journalism is evolving! I graduated with a newspapers degree — something that doesn’t exist anymore. These days, I host podcasts, headline weekly radio shows, appear on national TV, post blog stories and curate a newsletter in addition to my regular job writing for the newspaper. That’s not to mention the surge of social media that’s constantly challenging and changing my field. I may not have learned the art of TikTok at Grady, but I learned how to adapt to whatever comes my way.

GC: How has the network of Grady College alumni helped you professionally?

Bluestein: Just about everywhere I go in the professional world, I’ve been helped by the UGA network. At one of my first jobs at The Associated Press, a legion of Grady alums guided my career. Likewise at the AJC, where a proud cohort of Grady grads are in key roles at the newspaper. Now our generation is grateful to serve as mentors to the next class of Grady students coming up.

Greg Bluestein shares Conrad Fink’s lesson about “the little old lady from Keokuk,” along with other advice in the 2021 Spring Convocation address, delivered digitally due COVID-19.