“18 years into my career and my goal is the same as it was in year one… to continue growing as a journalist. Wherever that takes me.”
As a child, Jonathan Clark always loved writing stories as well as sketching everything in front of him. It is fitting, since that is what news radio is, telling stories through the art of describing what is in front of you. That’s the news half of his career, now for the radio half. Jonathan loved and still loves music. While he never picked up an instrument, he was always listening to the radio. Recording songs off the radio was a big hobby of his, would try his hardest to capture his favorite songs on tapes, hoping to cultivate his own radio show one day. His interest in journalism didn’t come until college, but in a way, he was preparing throughout his entire adolescence for his future career.
Jonathan graduated from STAC in 2004, receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Communications with Summa Cum Laude honors. He embodies so many invaluable qualities that represent a Spartan. He is currently an Executive Producer at CBS News Radio in New York City.
Starting out as a student at STAC, Jonathan was unsure of what career path he wanted to pursue. However, it wasn’t until he took his first communications course he realized that two of the things he loved, news and radio, could be a career. Once that happened, it was the professors at STAC who gave Jonathan the confidence to make a go for it. Some of his favorite courses at STAC were Journalism, Public Speaking, and Film. There were many professors who Jonathan admired, one that stands out is Dr. John Durney. “His love for the news was infectious. Just being around him and seeing how he consumed the news, made you want to do it. Every day he carried 3 or 4 newspapers atop a pile of books as he walked into class. I don’t know if he read them all, but it made me want to. Dr. Durney also taught me the importance of a good story and why journalism was not a job but a calling” says Jonathan.
Dr. John Durney, Professor Emeritus of Communications, remains in touch with Jonathan to this day. He says, “Jonathan was one of my best students because he was a news aficionado! I would start every CA class by asking, ‘What’s news out there today?’ And Jonathan would immediately list the top 4-5 stories that were trending that day! He had a thirst for news that affected everyone. But two things stood out about Jonathan’s view of things that have honed his professional skills — First, he was curious about why things were newsworthy. He could ‘weigh’ various stories we were inundated with every day as to which were most important. Second, he had a keen sense of which stories had the most impact on specific audiences; he knew what his ‘publics’ wanted to know! Those instincts have stuck with him throughout his impressive career! And Jonathan always remembered his alma mater. Whenever I’ve asked him to come back and guest lecture in my classes, he readily agreed, and spent time sharing insights with other aspiring CA students. During these challenging times, news has suffered from considerable public mistrust, but it’s still essential, even critical to our democracy, and the Jonathan Clarks of the news business is ever more important! I’m proud to call him a former student, friend, and consummate news professional!”
Jonathan says, “The desire to work as a journalist was born out of the coverage of 9/11. I was a sophomore in September 2001 and in the wake of the attacks, I became a dedicated consumer of the news. It was that newfound interest, paired with my love of radio, that led me to an internship at WCBS NewsRadio 880 in 2003. Two key professors at STAC paved the way for the position, Dr. John Durney who taught journalism, and Donna Williams who connected me with the legendary radio reporter, Rich Lamb. Rich always talked about finding a back door to sneak into in order to carve out a role in this industry. I always tell Rich he opened it for me by getting me an interview at the station. On my first day as an intern at 880, I worked with Rich covering a story at City Hall. The lessons I learned on day one still sit with me today.”
As Executive Producer at CBS News Radio, Jonathan works with the editorial leadership team overseeing the content put out on the CBS News Radio network, which spans nearly 700 stations across the country. He says he works mornings and begins his day around 4:30 AM, quickly collaborating with his anchors and editors after the 5 AM Top of the Hour broadcast. And fortunately for Jonathan, that is what he enjoys most about his job, being part of a team. “The journalists at CBS News are some of the smartest and most dedicated people I have encountered, and I learn so much from them each day. Coming together on stories and deciding how we will cover them is very rewarding, especially when you get to hear the final product every hour” says Jonathan.
Aside from his professional career, Jonathan’s favorite hobbies include running and biking, he is a two-time Ironman triathlete and has completed multiple marathons. He also says music is an important part of his life. Besides listening for hours each day (mostly punk and reggae), he has attended over 250 concerts. 15 or more of those being his favorite band, the Dave Matthews Band. Jonathan has a passion for tattoos and has collected many, mostly being music themed. He met his wife, Bridget, during an interview project in STAC Journalism-101.19 years later and the interview is still ongoing. They have a 10-year-old daughter named Madeline! Jonathan is also a huge advocate for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). He says over the past few years; he has used his own struggles with the disorder to incite an open conversation about mental health and stopping the stigma.
Jonathan Clark is just one of many successful STAC alumni who have paved the way for future students. His advice to Spartans is to be ready to work hard and make some personal sacrifices along the way. “Learn to listen carefully to everyone around you and have patience. If you follow the first two pieces of advice, you will hopefully meet your goals over time” says Jonathan.