As the associate vice president for public relations at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, John Morgan oversees the university’s news bureau, promoting Quinnipiac and its community to outside audiences. Morgan graduated from Southern in 1983 with a B.A. degree in journalism, and was one of the founding members of the SCSU SPJ chapter.
Interview by Sebastian Arbelaez, SCSU JRN ‘23. Answers were condensed and edited in 2022.
What is your job and what are your responsibilities there?
We work to promote all the events that take place here. I also work with our faculty, students and staff to get them out into the news. Oftentimes, as news breaks, the media is looking for faculty members who have expertise in certain areas. For example, when the prime minister of England, Liz Truss, announced she would resign after 45 days or so in office, I spent the morning looking for history professors, or political science professors who might be willing to share their expertise with the media. I’m also in charge of crisis communications. If there’s an emergency on campus, I’m the one who will send the communications out.
What was your first job after graduating from Southern?
My very first job after graduation was the Newtown Bee. I was working there as a general assignment reporter covering a lot of municipal meetings, whether it be the planning and zoning commission, the police commission, the Inland Wetlands Commission. I was the person that gathered all the police blotter information. So every day to go to the police department and take down all the information about the folks who had been arrested the day before and put together a weekly column on that.
How did your time at Southern prepare you for your current job?
I think Southern had a great news writing program. I just remember that the professors really hammered home the importance of Associated Press Style, which I still hammer home to folks today.
I think it’s very important, especially in this role, to demonstrate that you’re able to master AP Style so that reporters that you’re corresponding with know that you’re speaking their language.
What advice would you give to someone starting off in their journalism career?
I think it goes back to honing your skills in terms of writing. I think it’s really important to write. Write, write, write, write and that skill will not only carry you through a journalism career, but will probably carry you through most careers.
I think folks who have the ability to write have a leg up on those who don’t practice or hone that skill. It’s something that’s really important.