Alumni Spotlight: Brian Sullivan


Bloomberg Reporter Brian Sullivan believes journalists are more important now than ever before because any person can spew information these days.

Starting in the fall of 1979 as an undergrad, he was undecided but was moving towards an engineering career. He played football and felt balancing sports with academics was a lot at the time. His time at UMass Amherst became more unusual when he got married his sophomore year. Sullivan ended up living in married student housing and was working full-time at the University Conference Services and as a bouncer at a bar in the Blue Wall, now UPub.

Despite the unusual experiences he started with, he became a Journalism major and stumbled upon The Massachusetts Daily Collegian a little later and ended up going there all the time. He would get help with papers and research and felt it was a great hang-out spot for him. “Not once did I wish that I had a degree in something else,” Sullivan said.

He also remembers a few professors he felt helped tremendously, such as Jim Boylan and Larry Pinkham. “The academic rigor that they maintained held each one of us to high standards, but it was well worth it,” Sullivan said.

After graduating in 1984, Sullivan started as a stringer in Framingham for Middlesex News, now known as MetroWest Daily News. He worked there for five years covering small-town politics.

“It was the golden age of newspapers. There were a lot of financial resources and a fairly big staff,” Sullivan proclaimed.

Sullivan, now a reporter for Bloomberg News, started off reporting on higher education and general news. In 2008, he covered storms and natural disasters and moved on to investigate problems with climate and extreme weather to see how they impacted the markets.

Sullivan advises future students to go abroad and explore what they want to do. "Take advantage of foreign language, become more grounded in science and pursue interests outside of writing to diversify your journalistic careers," Sullivan said.

This profile was written as a part of the 2021 Alumni Spotlight Series by students in the Writing for Public Relations course.