SPJ Creates Opportunity
A small-town Iowa boy fell in love with journalism at a young age when he discovered the “warm feeling of doing something special when you report a news story that can make a difference in people’s lives,” Greg Philby (B.A. 1985) said in an e-mail interview with the Iowa Journalist.
Today, much of Philby’s professional passion can be attributed to The University of Iowa chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, a nationwide community enabling the communication between professional and aspiring journalists.
SPJ at the UI is in charge of events such as the You Be the Editor and the Judge’s Panel in the Legal Issues in Mass Communication class.
The Humboldt, Iowa, native currently works as the Editor-in-Chief of Midwest Living, a position he secured in 2007.
For Philby the move from “hard news and service journalism” at various newspapers in the Midwest, including newspapers in Council Bluffs and the Quad Cities, to the “soft news” world of magazine reporting at Meredith Corporation was unnerving.
Philby found himself “writing about things like how to choose a color for your kitchen remodeling, or 10 ideas for a fast weeknight meal,” Philby said.
But with an education from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and three years membership with SPJ, Philby was more than mentally prepared to his move to the Des Moines-based company in 1989.
Philby, belonging to SPJ throughout his college career, served as President his senior year. “SPJ deepens the connection between a journalism student and the craft,” Philby said. “It connects you to professionals and opens windows into the real world, but it also creates a campus connectivity that brings young professionals together.”
Degrees in both journalism and sociology have helped Philby in climbing the corporate-ladder. He jokes that his degree in sociology is just as important as his journalism degree because “working with people, understanding motivations and being able to inspire and focus creative types and lead a group to success are vital elements for me today.”
After 25 years in the business, he has concluded that, whether it is the fast-paced newspaper writing or the feature-oriented magazine writing, “Journalism isn’t just about writing down facts. It involves real stories, real people, real lives and real ramifications.”
“Much of my college career brought me knowledge and experience; SPJ brought it heart.”