Politcal Science and History
[Jim worked for The News Virginian and the Manassas Journal Messenger. He is now Sports Editor at Bristol Herald Courier.] I was the News and Design Editor and Humor Columnist for the Waynesboro News Virginian in Virginia. I'm a sports writer, and I've received 10 awards from the Virginia Press Association awards since 1997, including two first-place awards for sports-column writing. For 2003, I placed second for sport-column writing, third for event/"games" stories, and received an Honorable Mention for the sports-writing portfolio I submitted. I've also been writing fiction. In April 2003, I finished a book that revolves around the Civil War and a drafted Union soldier from Delaware who wrestles with the emotional conflict of having to kill other human beings. I'm currently shopping for a publisher for that one; in the meantime, I've begun work on a second book. It's an adventure story about two cats and two dogs who journey together to find "the glyph," which can ensure a long life of one of the pets' owners.
Why did you choose SJC?
I thought it was great that I could start my major in my freshman year. I didn't want to be bogged down with English, Math, and Science courses before I could get started on my major. Also, I thought the Core classes were excellent and fun to be in. They made me think, allowed me to doubt, and really encouraged discussion and free thought.
As a student, what were you involved in?
I co-hosted some talk shows on the campus's radio station, which helped me out when I started hosting a once-a-week spot on the ESPN radio station in Staunton, Virginia, talking about high school sports. I was a Features Editor for Stuff (SJC's student-produced newspaper, currently known as The Observer) during my freshman year, and for the years that followed I wrote a humor column. Writing always came very naturally to me. When I was a boy, I used to write fiction books and make the covers for them (my mom probably still has them).
How did SJC prepare you for the "real world"?
History Professor Bill White pushed me like I'd never been pushed before. His deadlines were strictly enforced - you received a "0" if your paper was one minute late - and even though I grumbled about it, I might not have been able to meet my newspaper deadlines at my job if I hadn't had him. In my industry, if my pages aren't done by midnight, I don't get a "0" - I get fired. Professors Sister Pat Robinson and Peter Watkins encouraged me to be myself and to put my own brand on my work. When I wrote a paper, they told me to make sure people knew it was from Jim Sacco.
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