In the spotlight: Professor Janesch

By on October 11, 2001

As an editor he educated reporters about the news. As an educator he edits students’ writing and teaches them the principles of journalism.
Since 1995, Paul Janesch has taught jounalism in what was the Mass Commincations Department and since July 2000 he has been at the school of Communications.
Janesch teaches various courses including basic journalism for undergraduates and advanced journalism for graduate students.
Janesch was a reporter and editor for 25 years. During this time, he gained experience by writing for different newspapers. He was eventually named the top newspaper editor in three cities: Louisville, Ky., Nyack, NY, and Worchester, Mass.
As chief editor. Janesch monitered both veteran and rookie reporters.
“I learned to coach them, not to change their work,” said Janesch. “I helped solve their writing problems.”
Janesch graduated from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. Four years later, he earned his master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York.
During the gap of time between schooling, Janesch sold toothpaste for Proctor and Gamble in Chicago.
Smiling, Janesch said he didn’t want to be a salesman his whole life. That’s when he discovered his true passion. Janesch liked two things, writing and being nosy. He knew he wanted to be a journalist.
Janesch’s first job as a reporter was at the City News Bureau in Chicago. He covered the Chicago police department.
Later, Janesch taught as an adjunct professor at his alma mater, Columbia University. He taught a newspaper managament class once a week. The assistant dean told Janesch he liked his teaching tyle.
“You’re kind of a performer in front of your students,” Janesch recalled the dean once saying.
In 1994, Janesch was selected as a consultant for Russian newspapers. He stayed in Russia for nine months helping Russian newspapers become successful businesses.
“It was a fascinating program and I enjoyed it,” said Janesch.
Janesch pointed out the similarities and differences of the classroom and the newsroom. In the newsroom he coached students to understand the basic principles of journalism while they enjoyed the freedom of their own writing. He does not believe students should write as he writes. Instead he encourages students to have their own voice.
A confidant professor, Janesch enters the classroom with a rundown of topics he calls “housekeeping.” The students must do writing and rewriting for each session of the class. He returns students’ stories and discusses them with the entire class.
Janesch pinpoints the basic news of the story and goes over any problems or mistakes. He allows time for additional comments and asks questions to receive feedback in the assignment.
Junior, public relations major, Mariel Caprio thinks everything that Janesch does in the classroom is done to help the students become better writers.
“I like all the comments and feedback I get on my papers. Professor Janesch is a very fair grader,” said Caprio.
Michelle Wininger, a senior mass communications major at Stoneybrook College, is taking Janesch’s Introduction to Journalism course this semester. She decided to take classes at Quinnipiac while finishing up her internship in Connecticut.
She said Janesch’s class is really enjoyable and it is helping her with other classes, such as public relations.
“I think it’s very important to have a class like this one. There is nothing ambiguous about it, students know what is expected,” said Wininger.
Would former students ever recommend Professor Janesch to teach their journalism class? Wininger replied, “Yes, I certainly would because his style of teaching is different. After only three weeks of class my writing skills are improving.”
Aside from teaching, Janesch is involved with many projects in his field. He has been a volunteer columnist for three years at the Connecticut Post in Bridgeport. His column appearing every Thursday deals with a subject in news media.
Janesch also writes a two-minute commentary for Connecticut Public Radio and WQUN, the radio station owned by the university.
“I love radio because I like talking into the mike,” said Janesch.
Janesch receives slightly more feedback from the column than the radio commentary. People respond to his writing two or three times a month.
“Most of the responses are in disagreement with what I have to say,” said Janesch.
Outside of the classroom, Janesch spends most of his time sailing on the Long Island sound near his home in Rowayton, Conn., which is a two-minute walk from the shore.
Janesch’s other interest is to watch an opera at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.


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