By Samantha Lund '16
PLU Marketing & Communications
TACOMA, WASH. (Oct. 23)- Journalism students at Pacific Lutheran University have the opportunity to work with an accomplished industry professional this year.
Seattle Business magazine managing editor John Levesque has experienced the journalism world from almost every angle. He has reported on the arts, sports, current events and is a successful columnist. In 2004, he covered the 100th World Series and reported on the Boston Red Sox win, which he notes as a highlight of his career. He also recalled his time as a television critic as one of his favorite experiences.
“There’s nothing like speaking to a group of fifth-graders and being able to answer in the affirmative when one of them asks, ‘Do you know Buffy the Vampire Slayer?’” Levesque said.
With experience writing, reporting, publishing and editing, Levesque’s love for print journalism landed him at PLU after 45 years in the industry.
Levesque worked for several publications, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and even though he’s found his vocation in publishing, 16 years ago he was inspired to teach as well. In the mid-1990s, Levesque met former PLU professor Cliff Rowe, who invited him to join a group that was evaluating journalism teaching standards for other schools. Then, he met current PLU professor Joanne Lisosky, who invited him to come teach a course at PLU.
“I discovered I liked talking with students about journalism, writing and wordplay,” Levesque said. He taught for 10 years, but then took a six-year break. This is his first year teaching at PLU after the break. “Mainly because Joanne [Lisosky] wouldn’t take no for an answer,” he said.
This semester, Levesque is teaching Multimedia Writing and Reporting in the Department of Communication and Theatre.
“Today’s journalism grads have to be adept in so many disciplines,” Levesque said. “They must be more multifaceted than I was or could ever hope to be.”
Splitting his time between teaching and managing Seattle Business magazine, Levesque says he does more editing than writing these days, but still enjoys writing his monthly column. He also teaches in the M.F.A. in Arts Leadership program at Seattle University, where he works with students to improve their persuasive communication skills.
A love for teaching isn’t all it takes though. Levesque’s split life between Seattle and Tacoma makes teaching more frequently a challenge, but he’ll strive to teach while he can and dedicate as much time as possible to his students.