Special sale at Village Door to benefit Cancer Support Center programs

When I started at the H-F Chronicle last fall, I met with school and village officials with whom I’d be working.

Tom Houlihan

“You can do lots of things that I can’t do,” I told them. “But you can’t do journalism. I can do journalism.”

I think they understood what I was saying. Local governmental units can promote themselves through press releases, advertising and other marketing initiatives. Journalism is different and requires people like me who are paying attention, who know how to tell a story and get it right. We are also supposed to be unbiased, at least to the best of our abilities.

I have spent most of my adult life in community journalism, and in towns ranging from Lockport on the west to Crown Point, Indiana on the east. I worked nearly 20 years at the late, lamented Star, mostly as a news editor and, for three years, as the paper’s editorial page editor. I also wrote a Sunday column during nearly all that time, which was more fun than anyone should ever be allowed to have. I’ve also worked as a reporter, covering local government and the courts.

I owe a great deal to the people I worked with as a young journalist. They were enormously patient with someone who had a few undeveloped skills but really didn’t know much of anything. In this line of work, you have to learn a great many things – how to talk to people, how to write stories that make sense and are accurate and how to do that fast. After a few thousand stories you are hopefully on the right track.

At the Star, I got to work with the great Lester Sons, the paper’s chief editor for decades and an inspiration to several generations of young journalists. Lester remains one of the best men I have ever known.

A few words about the Homewood-Flossmoor community. I have lived in the H-F area for the last 25 years. My three sons attended District 161 schools and then H-F High School. I have watched them grow to manhood and I know that they benefited from living in such a diverse, giving community. During my years here, I have been married, widowed and married again. In good times and bad, people in this community have been there for me and my family.

With the Chronicle, I am trying to give back to the H-F community and, I hope, help to keep it strong.    

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