Fellow Phi Delt from the 1978 Allegheny College class, John Hillkirk, has made a name for himself as the Executive Editor of USA TODAY. He majored in English and has been a writer and editor at USA TODAY since the newspaper launched in 1982. Before becoming Executive Editor in May 2004, he spent nine years as Managing Editor of the Money section.
Prior to joining The Nation’s Newspaper, John was a business reporter at the Times-Union in Rochester, N.Y., and the Valley Dispatch in Tarentum, Pa. John has also co-authored three books. Those of which include, Xerox: American Samurai, Grots Guts and Genius, and A Better Idea: Redefining the Way Americans Work.
One of his favorite stories was during the prison scandal in Iraq at the Abu Gharib. “We had a story about the fact that a White House senior official named Fran Townsend, who’s kind of the terrorism czar in the White House, had been at the prison, and had come back and briefed people at the White House about it,” John said. Up until then, nobody knew that the White House had been there, making it very timely and exciting.
John believes USA TODAY is a national newspaper, which is why he enjoys working there. They are not trying to serve the whole country, and are not biased to one region, one city or one perspective. John said, “I think we stand for accuracy, fairness and balance. I think we make a strong effort to be authoritative and sophisticated; it goes back in a way to what are the strengths of the paper itself.” John is looking forward to continuing his career over the next few years.