Digital Media Coordinator Ron Jantz shares his past experiences at LCCC, aiming for his career goal to be a broadcaster.
Graduating from Midview High school in 1983, Jantz considered both college, and military service, the latter following in the steps of his father who was a marine. Jantz chose college and during his time here at LCCC he had help from a mentor.
“When I was here, I had a great instructor who turned into a mentor for me. His name was Dr. Roy Berko. He was my communications professor, broadcast television professor, he was a lot of things for me,” said Jantz. Burko taught in the Arts and humanities division, and taught a variety of subjects.
Tieing two interest together
“I came here knowing that I liked two things a lot: one was sports, and two was writing; so I thought how could I tie those together?” said Jantz. He added he wasn’t good at sports, but loved playing them, and being around them. He thought he could be a sports writer. With the help of Berko, keeping Jantz under his wing, he was led to the idea of being a broadcaster. Jantz studied journalism, and eventually got a journalism degree from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps school of journalism, with a broadcast bend to it.
Jantz graduated from LCCC in 1985 with an Associates of Arts degree. He then proceeded to go to Ohio University E.W. Scripps school of Journalism, at the time, one of the top three journalism schools in the country.
Jantz went to Ohio University as a full standing Junior, and didn’t lose anytime, graduating in four years. Two at LCCC, another two at Ohio University.
Hands on training
“I loved them both,” said Jantz. “There were pluses to both. Going here [LCCC] first provided me the opportunity of that one-on-one attention that I got from a guy like Dr. Burko, that you wouldn’t get at a university – there were just too many students. The second was that I was able to participate in things like the Collegian. I wrote for the Collegian in 1983. I was also able to put my hands on television equipment right away. I learned how to operate video cameras, learned how to edit, tape to tape back then, now everything’s digital. Learned how to work in a television studio we had here on campus – right away, as an eighteen year old out of high school.”
“Needed to feel confident”
“When I went to OU as a Junior, I felt pretty confident in my abilities. I needed to feel confident because I was going to a very competitive school, specifically the E. W. Scripps school of journalism,” said Jantz regarding being a part of a bigger school.
“You needed to believe in yourself because you were competing with a lot of other students for opportunities to write for the paper, and broadcast for the students’ news. You better be ready to compete,” said Jantz. He then added, “With journalism, you have to want it! You want to live it, you gotta have passion for it.”
Jantz believes education plays a big role in success.
“Think things in a construction way. Like the foundation of your house. If it’s not strong, the house is gonna crumble. If you don’t have a strong foundational base in your education, it’s gonna crumble,” said Jantz. He added, “I had a strong foundational base in my education, and in my pursuit for a career because of LCCC. I was able to accomplish the things that I chased because of the confidence that my foundational base here gained me.”
During his time at the Collegian, Jantz recalled when Ken Olcott was the journalism instructor in his time as a student in the 80’s. Jantz was responsible for an array of assignments, not just focusing on just one subject such as strictly sports. Jantz recalled when he reported a story regarding Vincent Price who visited campus once. At the time, there was an event called the great American lecture series at the Stocker Center. These events would bring high profile speakers, such as Coretta Scott King, including Vincent Price. Jantz said during Price’s visit, he was at a high popularity due to the newly released Thriller song by Michael Jackson.
“It was cool for an eighteen year old kid to talk to Vincent Price who happened to be in the hottest song right now. I got to do stuff like that,” said Jantz. He added he did not just big events happening, but also smaller ones as well. “Other stuff would be just typical stuff you know? Is the lunch room food any good? Where were students going for spring break, little stuff like that.”
Jantz has also worked at Cleveland’s Channel 43’s 10:00 news. He worked seven years at Channel 43 from 1987-1994, and seven years at Channel 3 after that.
Working at those stations, Jantz went to be a sports reporter. Doing so right after college at the age of 22.
“It was everything. I got to cover sports at my home town in a time where all three teams [the Browns, the Cavaliers, and the Indians] were relevant. They were all playing with big steaks and it was a lot of fun. I had a front row seat,” said Jantz.
Digital vs Physical Media
With everything going digital today, Jantz gave his opinion about it.
“Digital makes things more immediate,” said Jantz. “You could tweet something, or Instagram something right now,” said Jantz who added he is still very old school about receiving his news. “I still love having in my hands a physical paper in the morning to start my day.”
He went on to say the pluses and minuses to digital and physical media. “The pluses are the immediacy of it, but it’s also negative because people report stuff before they check their facts, and then they backtrack a lot, and trust is lost,” said Jantz. He went on to add, “There’s this great chase to be first with whatever and I think with journalists today, they get caught up in the thirst to be fist and sometimes it bites them in the butt. They release a story that’s not ready to go.”
“Thirst to be first”
“Make sure you’re right, and then make sure you’re right again. Don’t be first, be right,” said Jantz emphasizing the importance of taking time to fact check. “Everybody’s thirst to be first has caused them to make a lot of mistakes. Be the tortoise, not the hare. But if you can both then you got something.”
Jantz gave advice for anyone going for journalism/broadcasting.
“Be inquisitive about everything. Be a good listener. Learn how to be a good writer. Those are the top three,” said Jantz. He then added, “Walk through life with your eyes wide open, and your head up. You’ll see things differently. You’ll notice things you’ve never noticed before.”
Jantz is currently working at the campus as a full time coordinator of the media department where he is responsible for visual marketing.
“We tell stories visually on students, professors, and programs of LCCC. Anything you see visually regarding LCCC would’ve come from my area, such as billboards down the street. Anything directly college related, like a nurse smiling in a hospital setting. Those are real LCCC graduates, and I will take their photo and I will tell their story.”
Words from Tracy Green
LCCC Vice President for Strategic and Institutional Development Tracy Green had a few words to describe Jantz.
“He is our most passionate story teller. Not only for this college, but for the community. He is able to inspire others by drawing out the story of the people he meets. Many of those happen right here through his work at LCCC. That is truly a gift. We’ve been very very fortunate to have him part of this team,” said Green. She added, Dr. Ballinger was the one who hired him. “She certainly saw that talent and I think Jantz has created such an awareness of the impact this institution has on people by that gift of storytelling. He is a people person. He finds the story in just about anything. He is able to walk across this campus and genuinely wants to sit down and talk with people and understand who they are, why they are here, and what their hopes and dreams are. He’s touched a lot of folks in that way. He has a way of earning people’s trust, and they open up and share.”
Enjoyed every moment
When asked about his experience as a whole at LCCC, Jantz said he enjoyed every moment of it.
“I loved it,” said Jantz. He went on to say, “It’s a beautiful campus, it’s always been beautiful and it gets more and more beautiful as it matures. I loved my time here at LCCC.”