I owe my career to Dr. Cole. I am sure that I am not unique among the graduates of Trenton State College’s journalism track. The skills provided by Dr. Cole helped us succeed in the weird meritocracy of journalism.
I had some doubts about whether I was going to stay in the profession. Upon graduation day in 1989, the newspapers were not hiring. I took unfulfilling jobs at Enterprise Rent-A-Car and at Prudential Insurance. When I realized that insurance sales did not interest me, I called Dr. Cole and told him about my situation. He suggested that I call the editor of the Ocean County Observer and ask to work as a stringer. The pay was low, but working at the Observer led to a job at the Times Beacon. In 1993, I took a temporary job at Reuters, which led to a permanent position that I have held for 12 years.
Future journalism students will miss the enthusiasm, insights, wit and real-world knowledge that he brought to his classes. I look to Dr. Cole as an inspiration for what is possible in journalism. The field has had its share of blemishes. Many of these foibles are derived from an industry’s management more concerned with short-term profits at the expense of news gathering and credibility. Dr. Cole warned us students about this in the 1980s. But I always draw from his lessons to try to overcome these obstacles and to help maintain the integrity of our profession.
Thank you very much, Dr. Cole.