Since Ron and I are just getting to know each other — both starting our new roles for Catalyst this October — we wanted to invite readers into our conversation.
Ron lives with his wife, Lorraine, an office professional at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. They have two sons, William, 30, and Charlie, 28. Ron recently co-produced the documentary, "Breached! The Tittabawassee River Disaster," a one-hour program about the disaster that hit our region. It was produced for WDCQ-Delta College Public Media (PBS).
Q: When did you move to Midland and what brought you here?
We moved to Midland in the fall of 1989. I came here to be the manager of Midland Community Television (MCTV) for the City of Midland. I had been working in television news at network affiliates in Marquette, Toledo, and Rochester, New York, working behind the scenes as a producer, producing newscasts.
I produced a couple of documentaries — short documentaries, about a half hour — but I was looking for something different. And by a fluke, I saw the ad for the job in Midland in one of the Detroit newspapers. […] I thought it also might be nice to come back to Michigan because I grew up in Coleman, 20 miles from Midland.
Q: What got you interested in communication?
While I was a student at the high school, I was involved in forensics, high school plays; I started announcing at the football games over the P.A. I've always enjoyed writing. […] Like most people in journalism, I think, I just have a natural curiosity — asking a lot of questions to try to learn more about people. So, when it came time to pick a major for college, I went to Northern Michigan University in Marquette. I chose broadcasting, and that's how it got me on a roll from there.
It's a unique challenge to try to tell somebody else's story and hopefully have it make sense. Like me with you today, and you with me. I'm not an expert in your life, so I've got to take what you say and hopefully distill it in a way that people get a better idea of who you are and what you're about.
Q: What are you most excited about in your new role?
I think it'll be exciting to work in this [way]. It's still journalism, but our vehicle is the internet. That's where everything's been going for a while, so that'll be interesting just reaching people through that. Because I've done television, I freelance for print, I did radio way back when; they all tie into the internet now, but this started as an internet venture. I think that'll be exciting.
And just uncovering different, unique stories in our area, in Midland. The one main rule in journalism I learned is kind of obvious, but I always remember an old anchorman I worked with out east, he said, ‘tell me something I don't know.’ That'll get your readers’, your viewers’, your listeners’ attention — you're telling them something they don't know.
With our solutions journalism approach, it will be interesting to not just present a problem, but to report a story about people working to solve a problem.
Q: What book are you reading right now?
“Grant” by Ron Chernow, a biography of Civil War general and U.S. President, Ulysses S. Grant. [I’m] learning a lot about the politics that occurred during the Civil War and why Grant rose to the top and gained Lincoln's confidence in executing the war.