Reporter meets, interviews sixth season winner of ‘The Voice’


Winner of sixth season of ‘The Voice’ Josh Kaufman answers questions from journalism students attending the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention. Photo by Rachel Marquardt

I walked into the small convention room filled with 20 student journalists from around the nation. As I sit down in the room I adjust my camera settings, fix my press pass and flip open my notebook. Breathing in, I take in one of the benefits of being a student journalist: being not only at the scene but behind the scenes. In this scene I had pen in hand, seconds before meeting and interviewing Josh Kaufman, winner of Season 9 of “The Voice” in Indianapolis, Ind., 2,176 miles away from home.

Student media programs from around the nation, London, and even China traveled to Indiana, Indianapolis for the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention to participate in events such as convention classes, write-offs, and special opportunities such as these. During these events journalism students learn and practice their skills. Unlike the convention classes, however, journalists needed to reply to a prompt sent by email in order to be one of the 20 students chosen to meet Kaufman.

Right at 6:30, Kaufman walked in and silence filled the room, the kind of silence that happens when a nationally recognized star walks into a common area. The main reason the silence grows is there is so much that is unknown about him. However, as a journalist, it isn’t so much that is unknown, it’s that there is so much to find out.

As he asked for the first question, what seemed like way more than 20 hands shot up towards the ceiling. In the nature of a reporter, each student journalist had at least one question to ask. Before he knew it he was unfolding his life to a room of 20 teenage journalist girls.

“‘The Voice’ was amazing. It was a really fun experience to work with people from that caliber. I wasn’t looking for ‘I want to get better at vocals,’ but working with Usher I felt gave me some different viewpoints of being a performer. You can’t just go up on the stage and bore people,” Kaufman said.

Before the interview Kaufman was a stranger, but after the interview he became a husband, a father, an SAT tutor, a lead in the musical “Pippin” and just a normal adult who had a passion for music.

After being face to face with someone I thought I would only fangirl over through a TV screen, I understood that the true benefit of being a journalist is actually seeing the truth itself, the story behind the story. In Indianapolis during theJEA/NSPA Journalism Convention, I saw the person behind the star that is Josh Kaufman, a story behind the story everyone sees on the TV screen.  

Even though I got to meet his personal side during the interview, his presence and talent did not hit me until he sang at the opening ceremony for the JEA/NSPA Journalism Convention. Instead of the 20+ journalism students he had what seemed like a casual conversation with, he sang his song “Back Home in Indiana” in front of 4,000 of them. After the experience, listening to him play his music in that moment meant so much more, because now instead of knowing his face I knew his hidden story.