Hancock sheds colorful light

By on February 15, 2006

It was just over a month ago when Rick Hancock, the new Assistant Dean in the School of Communications, began working at Quinnipiac.

With just one look at his collection of photos on his wall, it is hard not to wonder what awe-inspiring stories he would have to share.

From his humble beginnings in food manufacturing to his interviews with talents such as Michael Jordan, Bill Clinton, and John Rowland, Hancock has had anything but a lackluster career.

Hancock was born on July 16, 1962, in Queens, N.Y. He was one of three children, and despite being the middle child, Hancock always viewed himself as being the oldest.

Growing up, he often took care of his sisters. Eventually, he moved with his family to the suburbs of Long Island, becoming the first African American family in the neighborhood.

“I went to a predominantly white school and predominantly white church,” Hancock said. “But everyone got along and as kids we all played together. We played a lot of sports.”

After graduating high school, Hancock attended the New York Institute of Technology. He later transferred to Howard University in Washington, DC.

It was there that he completed his degree in political science and started working.

“I would tell my friends that my job was a marketing representative for a food manufacturer in New England,” Hancock said. “But really, I just sold dog food.”

Realizing that business was not for him, Hancock moved to Salisbury, N.C., where he started a newspaper called The Messenger.

At the age of twenty four, he was made publisher and “fell in love with journalism and talking to people and stirring things up.”

Hancock then moved back to D.C. to do freelance writing for newspapers. This led to a position as the publishing manager for the mayor.

With the skills he had acquired in Salisbury, he continued to work as a freelance reporter for a local NBC affiliate and became interested in broadcast.

“I loved the excitement of broadcast, but I wanted to do it full time,” Hancock said.

He moved to Baltimore and started full time at WBAL. It was there that he learned more about the business side of journalism, and his desire to work as an anchor grew.

He relocated once again to Harrisburg, P.A., and worked as an anchor for the 5 o’clock news at WHP.

“Journalism,” Hancock explained, “is a craft, but it is also a business. Unfortunately for me, the channel wasn’t making enough money, so they eliminated news!”

Hancock did not give up, and in 1997, he moved to Hartford where he worked as a weekend anchor and political reporter for WTIC-TV.

Hancock later decided to go back to graduate school to get his Masters in e-Media at Quinnipiac University. It was then that the opening for the Assistant Dean position was presented to him. He was also given the chance to teach the Intro to Newswriting class this semester.

“It’s cool. I want my students to understand the business and write good leads,” Hancock said. “Performance is key.”

Keeping ever so busy, Hancock has helped develop a blog online at www.yourcareerblog.com that has tips and tools that he finds useful for communication students.

He also hopes to set up a career kiosk in order to provide even more help to students. Most importantly, Hancock wants students to “learn good lessons” and know they should “never be too shy to take a risk.”


About Caitlin Zavorskas