Ex-reporter trains new journalists
The office of Anthony Todd Carlisle at California University of Pennsylvania seems a reflection of who he is: a former reporter and current professor.
The two sides of him seem inseparable, though, as he prepares college journalism majors for a future in reporting. His bookshelves are loaded with books, anything from Shakespeare to the latest Associated Press Stylebook for journalists, perhaps a glimpse into the mixed world of an English professor whose specialty is journalism.
On his wall there are articles plastered everywhere. One reads, "In Todd We Trust."
Carlisle earned his bachelor's degree from Cal U in English/journalism. His master's degree in liberal arts is from Duquesne University. He is working on his doctoral degree in literature and criticism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is considering specializing in African American literature.
Carlisle has a long resume of reporting jobs. He started at The New Pittsburgh Courier, where he covered city hall and organizations, and ended at The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, where he covered city hall, police and urban issues.
Carlisle also has worked for The McKeesport Daily News, The Beaver County Times, and The Pittsburgh Business Times.
Carlisle said he experienced both good and bad times as a reporter, but the most embarrassing time was when he misspelled a mayor's name throughout an entire article and it was printed that way.
He said his best experience was when he helped to reunite a separated brother and sister.
"You can do good things and help people," Carlisle said about being a reporter.
Carlisle said his favorite part about being a reporter was nailing a story, getting it right, beating his competition and doing a good job.
Although Carlisle now teaches at Cal U, he said he still thinks of himself as a reporter.
"Some days I miss the hustle and bustle of being a reporter, particularly when big stories hit, like Hurricane Katrina," he said. "But I enjoy preparing young people for the field. I particularly like to see students who start out weak and get stronger."
Carlisle said he landed his job at Cal U through "prayer and good luck." Now that he is a professor at Cal U, he said his favorite class is newspaper reporting.
"The students are pretty seasoned," he said. "They have an understanding of journalism, and I can take them to the next level, a different level of maturity."
He said he enjoys teaching because he likes that he has a hand in preparing students for their careers.
"I'm trying to get people to where they need to go," Carlisle said of teaching.
Carlisle does many other things beside teach and attend school for his doctoral degree. He also advises the undergraduate chapter of Phi Beta Sigma, is part of several hiring committees, such as those in the English and psychology departments, and makes time for his family.
Carlisle and his wife, Amy, have two daughters, Arielle, 16, and Amya, 4.
In fall 2003, Carlisle was called up to spend nine months in Kuwait as a supply officer for the Army Reserves. He issued body armor and other necessities. He joined the Reserve Officers Training Corps in 1990, when he was a sophomore at Cal U. He has mostly served in a public affairs unit.
He said it's hard to balance everything and to do it requires having priorities and making time for both family and work.
"Some nights I only get a couple hours of sleep, and then I'm on the road to do it again. But I know it won't last forever; there's a light at the end of the tunnel," Carlisle said.
Sarah Kerin, 21, of Finleyville, is a senior majoring in journalism.