How it Started

Matt has written for publications since 1984, from the Marshfield (Mass.) Mariner to Time magazine. For the past six years, he has been a regular freelance writer for the Chicago Tribune.

But he has most enjoyed penning dozens of personalized stories for friends and relatives as birthday, wedding, graduation or "just because" gifts. He began this tradition in 1992, when a former newspaper colleague got married.

Then, in 1998, he took the idea to a more ambitious level for Pat McCarthy, his mother-in-law, on her 55th birthday. Matt interviewed more than three dozen of Pat's friends and relatives, used photographs, laid out the resulting stories on two 11-by-17 inch pages and then matted and framed the gift under the banner "Pat's Press."

It was unveiled at a surprise birthday party attended by most of those whose stories formed the bulk of Pat's Press.

In August 2005, Matt decided to channel his passion for telling people's stories into Your Front Page.