Journalism: It’s not just a job, it’s a passion
This is a July 2007 interview of Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa.
I was engaged in journalism long before I received formal training in it.
That came in 1988-89 when, at age 39, I returned for a year to St. Ambrose University, where I’d graduated in 1971 with a BA in speech and drama, a minor in business administration and a secondary teaching degree.
My return to Ambrose was one of the best years of my life. I earned a second major in mass communications (they didn’t have that major my first time through or I would have taken it then) with an emphasis on journalism.
That training landed me a job as an intern at The Leader, a weekly paper in Scott County, in the summer of 1989. When that ended in the fall of 1989, they hired me as a reporter. I was given an opportunity to increase my responsibilities and rise in rank.
When I left in January of 1997 for what I thought were greener pastures and definitely more money (as the PR guy and the editor of a newspaper for a planned NASCAR-style racetrack that, ultimately, never got built), I was The Leader’s managing editor.
I worked at WOC-AM Radio News as a reporter/anchor on a fill-in basis from 1997-2002 as I was launching my advertising/publicity business and doing some teaching in the area of public speaking at Scott Community College. I went to part time at WOC in 2002 and was offered and took full time employment there effective Oct. 1, 2002. (I left in April 2009 because of the owner’s — Clear Channel Communications — financial woes.) In the meantime, I had joined The North Scott Press in Eldridge as a part-time reporter and columnist in 1998. I’m still there, contributing when asked or when I have time. Since 2010, I have also been a news correspondent for Radio Iowa in Des Moines. From 2010 to 2014 I had various news responsibilities, such as reporter, anchor, news director and consultant, for the AM and FM radio stations in Muscatine.
As noted above, I did finally do some teaching beyond my student teaching experience at Assumption High while I was in college (for the first time.)