James R. Middleton
Broadcast Journalism, 1970
Boone Count Journal and
My story crossed the nation and Southern Illinois University was responsible for what I have done. I was raised on a farm and I graduated from SIU with a degree in broadcast journalism in 1970. SIU provided the foundation for me to do what I wanted to do, to write for my living.
For three years I worked at WCEE-TV in Rockford as a commercial writer/producer and moved on to KEMO-TV in San Francisco where I worked in a similar capacity. I hosted an hour talk-show with Joan Baez, Carol Doda, a city rat inspector and Ben Fong Torres of Rolling Stone and “Country Joe” McDonald as guests.
Denver was my next stop writing advertisements and profiles for Crow Publications and their newspaper, The Western Livestock Journal. I also freelanced to the Rocky Mountain News and Boulder Daily Camera, among others. The next stop was Atlanta where I earned a law degree and freelanced to newspapers across the region before returning to Chicago.
I worked as a sales representative there while freelancing with the Pioneer Press suburban newspapers. Pieces were also placed in publications around the region and in Europe.
Over the last 12 years I have reported and edited The Boone County Journal, a weekly newspaper serving Boone, Winnebago, McHenry and DeKalb counties. On addition, I have placed literary pieces, short-stories and an Almanac for the Market Street Press in Rockford.
In 2014 I published a novel, Brewster Fulbright, a satire of small town government that described what one must do to move an impossible dream to reality. He wanted to chase developers from his Wyoming ranch by erecting wind turbines. Brewster failed but he did abide by his axiom, “Be sure you have enough to dance the tango at the Metropolitan Bar in Paris,” and he did.
My professor’s and education at SIU taught me that I could write and be successful. I learned not to be dissuaded by those who might deny my goal and to always move forward. Those lessons have held me in good stead.