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Looking for a Break From the Books - Broadcasting & Cable

Looking for a Break From the Books

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By Lorna Veraldi,
Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Florida
International University


In 1973, as a graduate student in Mass Communication at
the University of Utah, I read my first Broadcasting
magazine.  I was back at school to learn
about television, after my smarter, younger sister convinced me that if I
wanted to be an actress in the twentieth century, I ought to give up my
struggling stage career and get with the "new technology."  On the cover was a still photo of Yul Brenner
from The Magnificent Seven.  I figured there was a celebrity profile
inside, and I needed a break from my books. 
So I looked in vain for the cover story, only to figure out that this
was a no-nonsense trade publication, and the front cover had been sold as ad
space to a movie syndicator trying to sell its package of cowboy flicks to
television program directors.

I wised up a little as the months went on, and slowly my
career aspirations shifted.  In 1974 or
so, I saw a Broadcasting article
about the rulemaking proceeding then before the FCC that would ultimately
result in adoption of the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rules.  The article mentioned that a local television
license renewal had been challenged by the Justice Department.  The Mormon Church was a media powerhouse in
Salt Lake City, with radio and television stations and the Deseret News.  It was one of a handful of newspaper
publishers whose license renewals had been challenged by the Antitrust Division
in what appeared to be an attempt to jumpstart the cross-ownership
proceedings.  It looked like an
interesting subject for my Master's thesis, so I wrote to request documents
from a number of the boutique law firms that at that time handled the lion's
share of FCC work. One of them was Fly, Shuebruk, Blume, Gaguine, Boros and
Schulkind, whose clients included the licensee of a Minneapolis newspaper
publisher that also faced a Justice Department renewal challenge.  Peter Shuebruk, the senior partner at the
firm, asked to see a copy of my thesis when it was finished.

Several years later, after he read my thesis, Shuebruk
wrote to urge me to move up and out of my job as a television news producer in
Missoula, Mont. "without delay." He invited me to work for his firm
in New York while I went to night school part time to earn a law degree.

After three years at Fly, Shuebruk, I learned from a
fellow student about an interesting job opening at talk radio station WMCA, one
of the few stations in New York still owned by a small corporation.  Preparing for the interview, I consulted a
back issue of Broadcasting to read a
profile of Ellen Sulzberger Straus, who, with her husband R. Peter Straus,
owned and managed the station.  I knew
immediately that I would enjoy working for her.

I took a job with the Straus family in 1980 and continued
to represent them for many years after I left the station in 1985 to start my
family and my own law practice.

In 1986, my husband's business took us and our new baby
to Miami for six months.  We liked
Florida so much we later decided to buy a vacation home there.  In July 1988, we flew to Miami for the
closing.  When we got back to New York
later that week, I opened the issue of Broadcasting
that had arrived in my absence.  In those
days, the classifieds always included a few ads for college faculty
positions.  (I had spent a few semesters
teaching as a visiting instructor and a law school adjunct and thought one day
I might like to teach again full time.)

Almost magically, the issue that came out on the date of
our closing included a notice that the search for a faculty member at Florida
International University in Miami had been re-opened.  I had seen that same ad in Broadcasting earlier in the spring, but
had not responded -- not knowing that we would soon buy a house a few miles
from the campus.

I sent off a resume that week.  I was hired just as classes started in August
1988. My husband and I packed a few clothes and books and toys for the baby and
shut the door on our New York apartment. 
Our vacation home would soon become just plain home.  I have worked at FIU ever since, teaching
courses in media management and law. 
Many of my students have read their first issues of Broadcasting through classroom subscriptions in my courses.  While I have been at FIU, two of my guest
columns have been published in Broadcasting.

It's been almost four decades since I picked up that
first issue, looking for Yul Brenner.  In
the years since, Broadcasting has
helped me grow as a professional, steered me to many interesting opportunities
and helped to shape a career that fits me just right.

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