UW Professor Retires from Writing and Pauses Teaching Career
After teaching as a part-time professor in communications for five years and working as an editor for the News Tribune for 36 years, Patrick O’Callahan will be retiring as an editor.
Although O’Callahan is uncertain of the return date, he is returning to UW and continuing his career as a part-time communications lecturer.
“I don’t have another class lined up. I don’t think I’m on next school year’s calendar. So, it’s a good break; it’s at least going to be a year,” says O’Callahan.
After graduating from UW Seattle in 1979 as a student of world history and politics, O’Callahan landed his first job at the Tri-City Herald inKennewick, WA, covering lowerYakima Valley news.
“I was sort of working in what was called a bureau—it was kind of a little outpost of the newspaper. Basically two full-time and one part-time reporter. We were based in Sunny Side covering [small towns]. Then I moved down to the main newsroom in Kennewick and I was their science writer covering nuclear issues in the Hanford area,” says O’Callahan.
After working for the company for six years he was promoted to be editor-ial page editor. Two years later, in 1987, he left the Tri-City Herald, accepting a position as an editorial writer at the News Tribune specializing in education, transportation and health issues.
News Tribune editor, Karen Peterson described O’Callahan as the “best-read person” she knows who “demonstrated a Forrest-Gump-like way of knowing something about almost every topic” the newspaper has dealt with.
When asked if he will miss his career, O’Callahan said, “Actually no, it’s not because I don’t like the business I’ve just been there long enough. I’ve been there 36 years. I’ve enjoyed almost all of it, but there comes a time when it’s time to move on. There was a utility executive who use to come in a long time ago and he was in his late 60s and it seemed like every time he came in he would have coffee stains on his tie. And I said ‘I don’t want to get like that. I want to leave while I’m still strong.’”
During his break and retirement O’Callahan plans to work on writing projects, developing his interest in photography and spending time with his three grandchildren and the rest of his family. O’Callahan has two or three books in the making that consist of a collection of stories and a mystery. Currently, he is working on a book proposal about the human nervous system.
“I loved my job, but there’s a time when it’s time to leave it to the next guy,” says O’Callahan. On Dec. 26th, editor Matt Misterek will be replacing O’Callahan, taking on the opinion editor position at The News Tribune.
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