Alumnus who served as Associated Press president and USA TODAY publisher visits La Salle
April 19, 2023
Tom Curley, ’70, HON, ’07, spoke with students about careers in the media, free speech and truth in reporting.
On a sunny morning at La Salle University, the Communication Center welcomed a visitor worthy of breaking news.
American journalist Tom Curley, ’70, HON ’07, visited his alma mater for an April 13 panel discussion on free speech and truth in reporting. He also met with students from the student newspaper, the Collegian, to share advice on careers in the news and the media.
Curley is the former president and CEO of The Associated Press, from which he retired in 2012. He was also the former president and publisher of USA TODAY and senior vice president of administration for Gannett.
While at La Salle, Curley was the editor-in-chief of the Collegian. He graduated with a degree in political science.
“I am so grateful every day I went to La Salle and had the career that I did,” he said.
Curley remembers La Salle’s location in Philadelphia being “a great place to grow up as a news person and a great place to learn,” he said to the students in attendance. He is grateful for the support he received from the Christian Brothers who created an environment where “freedom of expression could fly.”
Students from across campus representing majors in communication, political science, and international relations, among others, settled in to hear Curley and La Salle faculty members answer questions on freedom of the press and its role in democracy.
“The price of truth can, indeed, be high,” Curley said during the panel when discussing telling an accurate story.
Curley shared his thoughts on the direction of journalism and how today’s Explorers can become successful in today’s evolving news industry. He recommended leaning toward digital publications instead of print publications, becoming specialized in topics that interest you, and gaining experience through internships and published bylines. He also said to keep an eye on digital platforms, nonprofit newsrooms, and startups as the landscape of media changes from the traditional model.
And never be afraid of asking tough questions, Curley added.
“(Journalism is) not a job for people who are faint of heart,” he said.
Kylie McGovern, ’23, attended the panel and co-moderated the discussion with Collegian members. As a political science major and managing editor of the student newspaper, she was interested in hearing what Curley had to share from his decades of experience.
“It’s impressive and exciting to see a La Salle alum thrive and excel in a field you’re interested in,” she said.