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 and from 2010 to 2014 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.)