I stepped off the stage at the legendary Stone Pony in Asbury Park Sunday night not having any clue what I would be doing with my life going forward. I was leaving my band of five years to focus on a career in journalism, one I've aspired for since I was five years old.
For some reason, I was that guy who thought about what he wanted to be when he grew up that early.
Regardless, what better way to spend the day off after the show than on the golf course? I tried to do such, but underestimated my energy levels, shanked a few balls into the water, and decided to pack it up, longing for the cool air conditioning of my beat-up 2007 Honda Accord.
It was there I got the call that changed my life. It was from Bangor, Maine. They wanted me. Someone actually wanted me.
I had sent out nearly 150 reporter/anchor applications all over the country, having gotten a call from just one. This was the first one where it seemed like the fit was right.
So with all of that said, it's time for me to embark on a new journey. Just hours after not having a clue of where I would be headed, I now know I'm Bangor-bound to serve as the new sports director and main sports anchor at ABC 7/FOX 22. It will be a tremendous challenge, but one I will source what I have learned throughout the past eight years, the time I spent actively pursuing this moment, and hope to do as well as possible.
I'm incredibly thankful for my family and friends for their support throughout this endeavor. Many of whom I spoke with understood the emotion in my gratitude towards them, and I really believe that while one controls their destiny, it is the work of a team that can only put someone in position to do such. Prior to making a final decision, I spoke with more than 20 people, some with major professional experience, and others with none. Not one single person thought this would be something worth turning down.
"You're going," one person told me. And that I am.
So here's to a new adventure, the first step towards making a dream a reality. Here's to all of have made this possible. Thank you for everything. I'll be talking to you all soon.
We are trained to be desensitized from the moment we walk into our first journalism class. I remember mine in particular, Ben Bogardus' 9:45 a.m. course on Tuesday and Thursday, first semester freshman year.
"In journalism, you are not part of the story," we were told, words resonating with me throughout the rest of my college days and into today. If you become part of the story, you hurt your integrity, we were taught. Journalism is a double-edged sword - if you display human emotion and empathize, you aren't being fair. If you don't, you're heartless and inhumane.
But what happened Wednesday morning with WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward breaks down all of those barriers. They became part of the story, involuntarily. Two journalists, in their 20s, murdered by a gutless, maniacal man. All while doing their job - telling stories.
In the journalism field, killings are unfortunately routine. They involve gang members, criminals, accidental shootings and "mentally-ill" figures. We are taught to treat all in the same, as it's part of the job, one requiring as little emotion as possible at times.
Yet the death of these two killed at work has made me more empathetic than I've ever been regarding a story, and based on social media response, has done the same for many within this industry. And perhaps their tragic deaths open up a new perspective for all of us as well.
As a news anchor sits in their chair tonight, they will report on the deaths of Parker and Ward. Then, they will move on, and likely speak of that gang member killed in Detroit, or the car accident that killed a family of four. And while they have been taught to treat one in the same, they will now be reporting on one of their own. Moreover, they will realize, that that gang member, the family of four, could also have been one of their own. Just like Alison and Adam, they were all human too.
I'm not sure I'll be able to look at this facet of the field the same ever again. This isn't the first time a journalist has been killed on the job, unfortunately, but perhaps the circumstances surrounding the spreading of the news has made it the most eye-opening for me. In the past, we have thought of people killed as a statistic, but to note these two as such seems wrong. And I'm not sure I'll ever mentally label anyone else as a statistic either now.
I won't sit here and act like I have 20 years of experience in journalism, and I'm sure some colleagues of mine will disagree with these words. But I will tell you I believe in the same principles these two did, like many of my friends out in Iowa, Wisconsin, Wyoming and elsewhere practicing the same craft they did. They were two reporters who told stories for a living, and died doing what they loved. And even in his grave state, Ward still managed to tell one last story, capturing an image of his murderer whilst hitting the ground, allowing officials to respond appropriately.
So thank you, Alison and Adam, for pursuing truth and telling stories. And while I never knew you, thank you for changing my perspective on everything we do.
My condolences to the families, friends and co-workers of those involved, including Vicki Gardner, the subject of the interview being conducted before the incident.
Yes, I'll start by apologizing. It's been a while.
Post-graduation life has been a whirlwind of early morning shifts, late shifts, afternoon shifts, writing shifts and of course, shifts on the golf course. Yes, Jon Alba actually dabbles in athletic activity from time to time, believe it or not. Successfully? Well, that's for another post.
Nonetheless, the past several weeks have seen some major changes in my life, most of which are related to my professional endeavors. And I wanted to take a moment to update you all on what to expect going forward, as I believe there are a lot of great things that will be happening that I hope others will gain enjoyment out of.
For the past five years, since graduating high school in particular, I've attempted to plan out how my life will unfold. Every moment I've been certain I've locked in my passion on one item, another comes up that makes me beg the ultimate question of "what if?" What if I went towards this particular route of television? What if I step outside the box to market myself in a non-traditional way? What if I could ditch all of this and just become a rock star?
Unfortunately, I've decided the answer for that last question is, "no." Not now, anyway. This past week, I announced my departure from the band I've played with for five years, Bobby Mahoney and the Seventh Son. I'll be wrapping up with the group Aug. 30. Those who have followed my journey know how difficult of a decision this was to make, and I'm thankful to have gotten the opportunity to travel to parts in and out of the country all in the name of rock n' roll. And while I am tremendously proud of what we have accomplished, there came a point where I needed to let that part of me go, to embrace the career path I put myself in position to embark on nearly 10 years ago, and to get aggressive.
So, I've packed up my guitar and amp, and am here to tell you about my new ventures.
I'll start with this - another bittersweet note. After two and a half years as an editor and contributor for Wrestling Rumors, I have decided to step away from the website as it undergoes a change in direction and my scheduled workload increases. I was the first person brought in as a writer for the site when it launched, and credit it greatly for helping me further develop myself as an author and improve my breaking news delivery. Without Wrestling Rumors, I would not have been able to craft my web content skills to help rejuvenate a stagnant outlet in Q30 Television, for which I served as general manager for nearly my entire duration with Rumors.
However, I am proud to say myself and now-former Wrestling Rumors editor-in-chief Doug McDonald will be starting a new podcast called "Living the Gimmick," which will air on a familiar outlet. We have already done a couple of test runs and invested many hours into it, and I say objectively (OK, and subjectively) that it is tremendously entertaining and I believe any fan of wrestling, sports-entertainment and generally, good radio, will love it. Look for that in the coming week.
Online radio was a part of my life dating back to 2008 with the debut of "SportsFullCircle Live!" Shows like "And Then There Were Two" invigorated my love for conversation, and because of this, "Living the Gimmick" will not be my only new podcast.
I will also be starting a program entitled "Stories and Sports." I conceptualized this program several years ago, and never thought I would actually get an opportunity to do it. I've always held to the belief that everyone has a story to be told, no matter if they are famous or the Average Joe. This particular podcast will be a straightforward conversation with figures from around the sports world who you may be (or in most cases, likely are not) familiar with. Forget about the X's and O's. It will feature athletes, coaches, journalists and other figures whom have stories that go beyond the game and remind us of the human interest aspect of sports. The first episode, which will feature a man from the U.K. with a highly unique story, will debut at some point in late-August.
Additionally, as I continue to attempt to land a reporting gig, I will be doing some on-air features with the local television station, EBTV. I'm pretty excited to get started with this, and inject a little bit of life into the sports content with the station.
Throw all of this alongside my work with MLB Network (which will now include the NHL Network as well), and we may have time to grab a cup of coffee some time in December.
Nonetheless, just wanted to keep everyone in the loop, for those who are interested. Thanks always for the support, and be sure to keep up with all of my doings on Facebook and Twitter.
Until next time.
By Jon Alba
Quinnipiac University will soon be without its departing athletic director Jack McDonald, who will be retiring from Division I athletics to pursue a position with the University of New England. But the school announced Tuesday president John Lahey would be revealing the institution's new director of athletics & recreation at a press conference Wednesday.
Two separate sources, one of high-rank within Quinnipiac Athletics, confirmed to Jon Alba Journalism the school has selected former Duquesne director of athletics Greg Amodio to fill the position. Both were granted anonymity, as they were not at liberty to speak publicly on the situation.
Amodio will become just the second Quinnipiac athletic director since the school moved to Division I status before the 1998-1999 school year. He served in the same role for Duquesne from September of 2005 through this past season. The high-ranking source said his contract with the university was not renewed, though Duquesne officials had not returned request for comment as of press time.
The 53-year-old made headlines in 2010, when the A-10 school cut four sports (baseball, wrestling, men's swimming and men's golf) in order to allocate more than $1 million to its other 16 varsity sports. The consensus among some was the moves were made to improve the basketball program, one plagued with several seasons of underachievement.
Amodio will inherit a program aiming to improve its visibility on the national scene. The school reached a settlement regarding its Title IX dispute with women's volleyball in 2013, where it agreed to pay more than $5 million improving facilities and treating two more female sports as "sports of emphasis." It also added two female sports (golf and rugby) in the process.
Duquesne's official biography page for Amodio makes note of his ability to garner funding for capital projects to improve facilities. A majority of these projects exceeded a price tag of at least $1 million, per his biography. He also oversaw the growth of the school's football program, which was backed by an investment that saw the construction of new concessions, seating and a turf field. This aided the school in moving the program to the Northeast Conference's football division.
Along with the $5 million necessitated by the Title IX lawsuit, Quinnipiac is looking to upgrade the rest of its facilities on its Mount Carmel campus in an effort to modernize the athletics program. However, ongoing disputes with the town of Hamden have prevented such improvements from being made to this point.
Quinnipiac has achieved a large degree of success since moving to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference at the start of the 2013-2014 athletics season, picking up league titles in sports including men's soccer, field hockey, women's basketball and women's tennis. While men's basketball has yet to make the NCAA Tournament, Tricia Fabbri's women's basketball program made its second tournament in three years, losing to Oklahoma in the first round.
Prior to his stint at Duquesne, Amodio served as associate athletic director for marketing at Xavier University.
***UPDATE*** 7:49 p.m. ET Tuesday
Quinnipiac Public Affairs told Jon Alba Journalism it could not comment on the report.