A Northwest Indiana Life in the Spotlight: Jerry Davich

JerryDavichWhen Jerry Davich was attending his high school graduation ceremony at Gary Wirt High School, he noticed something odd about his diploma case. He asked the person sitting on the right of him to see their diploma, and then the person on his left. After doing this, Davich noticed that his diploma case was empty, he did not get his diploma, and he did not graduate from high school.

This is how Jerry Davich’s story begins.

Jerry Davich is a columnist for the Post-Tribune as well as an author of two books and a radio host for Casual Fridays with his fiancé and fellow co-host Karen Walker. Despite being a renowned writer within Northwest Indiana, Davich’s origins began far away from the journalism scene.

“After high school I worked for Uncle’s Catering out of Portage. At the time, for a teen I was making good money, I felt like I didn’t need to worry about going back to college,” says Davich.

Davich continued to work at Uncle’s. After a while, he got married and had kids. It was during this time that Davich began to take interests in other subjects and eventually decided to attend a local college to pursue his interests.

“I started becoming interested in theology and reading a lot of books about it. I decided it would be fun to take some classes, see how I faired against these other kids who graduated from high school.”

Davich began attending Purdue North Central University, taking classes in English and philosophy among others but was slightly delayed when he found out that the university required a GED in order to continue.

“I went back and got my GED, all the while my kids were in daycare during the daytime, “says Davich. “After this, I continued to go to classes.”

Davich would take his first step towards becoming a writer and storyteller during the fateful time when legendary musician Kurt Cobain committed suicide, prompting Davich to write a piece on the event and the act of pop stars committing suicide.

“I wrote this piece and my professors suggested that I submit it to the local paper at the time, I thought he was nuts,” says Davich. “You don’t just submit to the paper, they would never run it.”

The paper Davich submitted to did run the article, along with his university’s newspaper. It was also during this time that Davich began taking an interest in drawing cartoons and started drawing political cartoons to both the Times and the Post-Tribune.

“My cartoons were crudely drawn, and not very good, but they were well written,” says Davich. “At the time I didn’t really have the skills necessary to express my ideas in any other way. I hated English, hated grammar, I had no typing skills, this was the only way.”

When submitting to the Times and Post-Tribune, both realized that the person submitting to them were the same person and soon forced Davich to make a choice on where he would submit.

“At the time the Times paid $30 a cartoon and the Times paid $25. I ended up choosing the Post-Tribune for obvious reasons,” says Davich.

While Davich was working on his cartoons, one of the editors, Doug Ross asked him if he wanted to cover an event.

“At the time I said yes, but I didn’t really know what I was doing. They sent me to this magical new place to me called Kouts, where I covered their Pork Fest,” says Davich. “I was there carrying around my big yellow notepad taking notes and then ended up writing the article at a small McDonalds there. Once I came back to the office Doug asked me to type it up, with me again not knowing how to work or run any of the equipment they had there.”

Davich eventually typed his first article. While the process was rough, it started the next phase in Davich’s life to reaching where he is today.

In 1997, the Time offered to hire Davich full time. At the time, Davich was still working in the food industry for 20 years while raising two kids, after becoming tired with the food services and wanting to do something new, Davich accepted the job offer and became a beat reporter, covering all of the newsworthy events in the Duneland community.

After spending a period of time working as a reporter, Davich discovered that while his job was covering event, his interest was in developing his voice as an opinion columnist. Soon afterward he was given the chance to write weekly opinion columns along with his other duties. Once the editors read and liked his opinion columns, they offered him the chance to move to the features section and eventually have his columns published on the front page.

“I enjoyed being a reporter, says Davich. “But when you considered my background as being a political cartoonist, I enjoyed writing narratives even more. I enjoyed telling stories. It's a concept as old as time itself, tell us a good story and people will come to listen.”

After spending some time as an opinion columnist, Davich was approached by the time Post Tribune to be an opinion columnist for their paper, having the opportunity to write more columns per week and earn higher pay. Davich considered this, initially reluctant to leave his position at the Times due to the fact that he was raised by their editors, but after telling them about the offer, his mind was made up.

“The Times offered me the same pay, same opportunities if I stayed and it was then that I realized that the Post-Tribune was the place to go to,” says Davich. “The Times only offered me the position since they were backed into a corner, they weren't sincere on their offer.”

Since then, Davich has been a columnist for the Post-Tribune, spending his time writing about events, issues and current topics floating around in society. While he writes about popular topics, he enjoys writing about more controversial topics that push people outside their comfort zone.

“I like talking about the things that people aren't always comfortable to talk about,” says Davich. “If people are talking about it in whispered voices, its something that I want to talk about publicly.”

No matter the topic, Davich still enjoys the core essence in his job, telling a story and telling a good story. He loves what he does.

“I love telling stories, the interview process Is ok, but I love sitting down and telling stories with my words. Being a journalist and writer isn't just about pay, it's about experiences. These experiences I would never have unless I was a writer, it's like a secret club and an empowering gift.”