Recently Retired Edinboro Alum Reflects on Career at Erie Times-News

Category:  News
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 at 8:10 PM
Recently Retired Edinboro Alum Reflects on Career at Erie Times-News by Macala Leigey
Recently retired John Guerriero stands outside the Erie Times-News.

Covering the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama, while interviewing personalities such as Franco Harris, Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swan, Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy, are all rare experiences that define former Erie Times- News staffer and Edinboro University alumni John Guerriero’s career in journalism.

Guerriero graduated from Edinboro in 1981. During his time at the university, he pursued a major in journalism and communications and was involved with multiple campus media organizations, including “The Spectator” and WFSE. Guerriero even held the position of editor for “The Spectator,” while studying at Edinboro.

After pursuing two consecutive internships at The Erie Times- News his senior year of college, Guerriero was immediately hired as a full-time staff writer for the newspaper in September 1981.

Nearly a month ago, Guerriero retired from the Erie Times-News on Jan. 6, after devoting 35 years of his life to the newspaper.

“[The] timing was right,” Guerriero said regarding his resignation.

He noted that the length of his career at The Erie Times-News, and the newspaper’s recent switch in ownership contributed to his decision.

During his time there, Guerriero covered a variety of stories on education, crime, and gambling issues, but is best known for his coverage of local, state, and national politics.

Guerriero has interviewed numerous prominent political figures and events, including the historical inauguration of Barack Obama.

“It was quite the experience,” Guerriero said.

Expressing that he appreciated and enjoyed the opportunity to cover such a historical event, he added that he also had the opportunity to interview Obama during his candidacy.

Additionally, Guerriero covered President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address, John McCain and Sarah Palin’s separate Erie campaign stops, and his project on state lawmakers. The state lawmakers project was one of Guerriero’s most valued works, due to the mass amount of effort he put into it.

Along with politics, Guerriero wrote several articles on police, county government, city hall and local human-interest stories.

However, Guerriero mentioned that one of the most rewarding parts of journalism is “just telling people’s stories.”

Although, just as with any profession, journalism has its ups and its downs; Guerriero sharing that the downs of journalism include deadline pressure and sources not responding or wanting to remain anonymous.

But Guerriero imparted some valuable advice for aspiring journalists to guide them through those events.

“Absolutely get an internship while in college, even if it doesn’t pay. Get the experience outside of college. You really don’t learn until you get out into the real world,” Guerriero said.

Guerriero also shared that “hands on experience,” such as the kind he acquired from his time as editor for “The Spectator” and at his internships, are vital for adjusting to journalism in the real world.

In addition to his advice about attaining real-world experience prior to graduating college, Guerriero encouraged future journalists to adjust to utilizing social media in journalism.

“That’s where the future is [social media.] We [journalists] all adapt to it. We have to,” Guerriero said.

Although he no longer holds the position as full-time staff writer for The Erie Times-News, Guerriero plans to continue his writing career by doing freelance writing for the outlet and other local newspapers; while he also pursues writing his first book.

“John was one of our best. He is one of the best there is and we [Erie Times-News] will miss him,” Erie Times-News Executive Editor Doug Oathout said.

Macala Leigey is the News Editor for The Spectator and she can be reached at eupnews.spectator@gmail.com.

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