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Ed Pierce: Executive Editor of the Journal Tribune

Ed Pierce is the Head Editor of the Journal Tribune. Pierce has been in this position for almost two and a half years and he has made a major impact on the paper but also the community.

Pierce met Robert Kennedy when he was younger after he won an essay contest. Pierce credits Kennedy with motivating him to be a journalist today.

“When I found I was going to be reading my speech to Robert Kennedy, who had been the brother of the president, I realized, ‘oh yeah, that is pretty impressive,’” He said, “When I had a conversation with him he talked a lot about my future. He said something that has stuck with me through my entire career as a journalist, now 43 years, which is, ‘you know you can go to college and learn a lot of things but the one thing they can’t teach you is talent.’ He thought I had a talent for writing and storytelling, it set me on a path of my life’s work.”

Pierce used to run a paper route after school for the evening paper. On his route there was a journalist, a TV reporter, Tom Shell. Pierce was able to pick Shell’s brain about journalism but also about colleges. Mentioning the schools that were extremely respected for journalism, Pierce said that the cost of those schools were very expensive.

Shell was able to help Pierce navigate looking at the smaller schools that had great journalism programs as well. He ended up attending New Mexico Highland University at first and then transferred to the University of New Mexico years later.

When asked about if a degree in journalism is necessary to have a career in journalism Pierce said, “It’s certainly helpful. I have worked with people who did not have a degree in journalism, but that’s not to say you can’t become a journalist otherwise but the things that I learned in journalism school are experiences that have stuck with me to this very day. So I would say it’s not necessary but it is important that you at least have some journalism classes.”

At college Pierce explains that there were three different journalism tracks you could follow; print newspaper journalism, marketing and public relations, or broadcast journalism. Pierce states he did not feel he belonged in the broadcast track, he jokingly adds that he did not believe he had the voice for it. Pierce decided he wanted to become a print journalist and that is the exact track he pursued.

Pierce was a Public Affairs Specialist for the Air Force, when asked how it has impacted him personally he answers, “When I enlisted in the Air Force, my goal was to travel overseas and to see if the sun looks any different coming up on the other side of the world, it doesn’t, it looks exactly the same. I Traveled all over europe and just telling the stories of the men and women of the armed forces there. I also traveled to Iran, I was one of the last military personnel helping to assist moving families who were leaving Iran when the Shaw of Iran was overthrown in 1979. We had a strong military presence there, so I was a part of a team who was evacuating American military personnel and their belongings from Iran. I think being a military journalist is also crucial to who I am as a journalist today because you wear the uniform of the United States of America and as a military journalist and there is no conservative or liberal the main thrust of being a military journalist is objectivity.”

Pierce shares a touching story about his involvement with the Air Force with a particular sergeant, “I was asked to cover a Sargent and he had taken a test for radio repair and he got a 100%  on the test. So his skill level was increased tremendously to journeyman from apprentice level. I wrote the story, the guy’s name was Billy Catalina, it was about 1980. Years later I was at the mall in Albuquerque, Christmas shopping with my family, and this guy came up to me and said, ‘hey I know you,’ and he told me he was in the Air Force and got assigned to the Pentagon where I was and now he was stationed in Albuquerque. He said, ‘you know how I remember you?” he then reached into his pocket and pulled out this little, faded yellow news story that I had wrote about him. He went on, ‘you have no idea the impact that you have made upon my life,’ and I responded with, “how so?” And the Sargent continued saying, ‘well when I was in high school I was a notoriously bad student. I just barely got into the Air Force by the skin of my teeth and for me to be able to score a 100%, was a really great accomplishment for me. But not only that about six months after that was written about me I sent a bunch of copies of it to my mom, my mom died. So my brothers and I went to Brooklyn to clean out her house, and she had that story put up on her bulletin board, in the kitchen on the fridge, and even in her nightstand where her prayer cards and the couple copies were clipped out with them. It really made my family proud and my mother proud that someone recognized that I have worth and I have value.’ I thanked Billy and never saw him again, but that story is emblematic of what my career in a nutshell is all about, which is telling people’s stories.”

In addition, Pierce said that at the Journal Tribune he chooses not to run political ads for certain candidates or campaigns. The Journal Tribune strives to be fair and represent all viewpoints.

“The best part of my job,” he said, “Is not knowing from day to day not knowing what you will be facing that day. It is sort of like an adrenaline rush, it sets the tone for the rest of the day. Being a print journalist is almost like being a cop or a fireman, you never know what you will be doing, but you have to be good at it. I really love that aspect of my job, you start everyday with a clean slate, sort of like an artist.”

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