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As a columnist for The Journal News in White Plains, N.Y., Phil Reisman holds a position many journalists aspire to reach. Printed three times weekly, his column runs the editorial gamut, featuring breaking news, political pieces, and, on occasion, personal vignettes.

“I try to keep my column fresh and surprise my readers, ” says Reisman. “I don’t want to get pigeonholed, so I mix it up with humor and run with a wide range of emotions.”

According to Bill O’Shaughnessy, president of Whitney Radio, Reisman “writes like an angel, and on a good day, like Mark Twain.”

“I had some great professors at Lafayette,” says Reisman. “They gave me a fundamental basis for understanding the world. This is critical for someone who wants to go into the newspaper business.”

Reisman began his career in the newspaper business as head copy boy at The Trib, a short-lived New York newspaper, and joined Gannett Newspaper Company about 20 years ago. He has worked as reporter and editor and became metro editor for the Westchester newspapers in 1998.

“Being a columnist is the greatest job at any newspaper,” he says. “It is the job everyone wants because you are an independent player. No one assigns you anything; you write about what you want.”

Being a columnist does, however, present a number of challenges. “Writing well enough to get people to read from beginning to end is a true challenge,” says Reisman. “You have to give 110 percent every time you write to reach this end.”

A history graduate and member of Phi Beta Kappa, Reisman belongs to National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles