Alumni Affairs series features Forbes Senior Editor Herper ’99

James Matthew Herper ’99, Senior Editor at Forbes Magazine, was the first featured speaker to be featured by the UA Alumni Affairs Committee’s Unconventional Career Paths Alumni Speaker Series on Oct. 19. 

During his presentation to the graduates and undergraduates students who attended, he told several stories from his life and career. 

He joined in 2000 to cover the Human Genome Project and has written thousands of stories on topics ranging from genetics and drug discovery to health economics and public health.

His 2011 cover profile of Bill Gates defended what he called one of humanity’s greatest achievements: the vaccine.

When he was asked what he knew now that he would have preferred to know freshman year, he said that MIT students should believe more in themselves. In the life things sometimes get better without necessarily getting easier, he said.

As a student, he created a newspaper called the MIT Observer because he thought there was more room for science writing at MIT. Today, he is very passionate about his career as a journalist. That the passion is necessary in order to remain a journalist instead of switching to a more high-paying job like public relations, he said. 

He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in New York.