Once a journalist, always a journalist is what I say. I was hooked in the world of the 5Ws and the H since my senior year of high school when I was made Editor in Chief of the Richards Herald. I was known for setting deadlines for my staff sooner than what they needed to be to get them to perform at their best under pressure.
I was able to see and do a lot of amazing things as a journalist. I was able to do things normal people wouldn't get to do, like party with the cast of a Chicago's Second City improv group after their opening night show. (They had pizza and beer and Lisa Madigan - no really, Lisa Madigan). I was able to take a ride in a Russian military jet because it was performing for an air show. Talk about a ride of your life! I talked to Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite on the phone for half an hour. I asked if I could talk to him through, (yes I know I'm getting up there in age) a MySpace message. He messaged me right back with a number I could reach him at. There were no agents to go through or anything, and he was the nicest guy. I interviewed three Illinois governors: Edgar. Blagojevich, and Quinn. Edgar was by far the most personable and level-headed of the bunch. We talked the longest and it was the most real conversation. I also met his wife, whom bought the same book as me the day I bought it at the same book fair at the Eastern Illinois University campus. What a small world.
But perhaps the granddaddy of all journalism memories had to be when I interviewed Barack Obama. I was lucky enough to grab an interview with him after he spoke at Moraine Valley Community College when he was a senator. I could tell by the way he presented himself and by the way he spoke that he would be going places. I got to talk to him after his speech for a few minutes, and he was very genuine and down to earth. He looked at you in the eye when you spoke (unlike Blagojevich) and he was overall a nice guy. The article of course made the front page that day. I still have it somewhere.
Even though I haven't written for a paper in six years, I haven't been able to let go of the field. I have been teaching journalism to a whole new generation of reporters, photographers, and editors at Crete-Monee High School in Crete, Ill. for the last three years. Our newspaper grew to two classes last year and we have gone downstate for the IHSA Journalism competition two years in a row now. It is so rewarding to pass on the torch to new students, and in a way, I am the Editor in Chief in high school all over again. It's funny how life can come full circle. Below you will see some of the articles that I am most proud of in my time as a journalist.
Daily Eastern News Articles/Multimedia Projects
Journal Gazette-Times Courier