Michael J. Fitzgerald has been a journalist for 40 years, working as a writer and editor for newspapers, magazines and web publications. In 2014 he published the novel, "The Fracking War." In 2015, he published his second novel, "Fracking Justice." He writes or contributes to five blogs. He and his wife Sylvia Fox are the owners and principal partners in *subject2change Media, a multi-media firm involved in print, video and broadcast. He writes a weekly column, "Write On" for the daily 'Finger Lakes Times' newspaper in Geneva, NY. He was a journalism professor at CSU Sacramento from 1986 to 2011 teaching Newswriting, Column Writing and Magazine Writing.
JAMESTOWN, New York - This classic yearbook picture is of the staff of the weekly newspaper (The Trojan) of Southwestern Central High School.
At the far right, the skinny guy with glasses is me and in the foreground, in the dark sweater with the hairdo that looks like bell is Sandra Carlson, aka Sandy Carlson, for whom I have searched for years and been unable to locate.
The newspaper was the launch point for me for a life of writing, though at the time, the only reason I did it was because I needed to fill out my class schedule senior year and the only other academic option was Drama. Stage fright kept me from pursuing that, though I wonder where I would be had I headed down that route.
Instead, I wrote some sports, and with the another madman, John Rupp, wrote a column called "The Eavesdroppers," gossipy stuff in which we would say things like "Lee J. was having a great time at the drive-in with Dale A., until he got too hungry and left her sad and lonely in the car to go to the snack bar."
A tidbit like that prompted 'Lee J.' to chase me up a staircase and threatened to bash my skull into several pieces. He didn't but mostly I believe now, because he was worried that the school would toss his athletic butt out and he would get featured in another Eavesdropper column.
Rupp and I had a lot of fun and while I didn't really understand the power of the press at the time, I felt it.
There also was a high school journalism convention involved in being on the staff - a trip to Syracuse University where we spent a night in a fleabag hotel getting into all kinds of trouble, proving that two teacher chaperones are no match for a dozen hell-bent-for-fun high school seniors.
And while we were doing that, Hunter S. Thompson was just beginning his research on the book that launched him, 'Hells Angels.'