Advice from the Editor-in-Chief 30 Years Ago


Former Talon Editor-in-Chief Jodie Valade

Trina Mollicone, Editor-in-Chief

The Rochester Talon: an ongoing piece of history that goes all the way back to the beginning of RHS’s establishment. Although the Talon is a hybrid publication today, we have access to copies of past issues dating back all the way to the 1950s. I recently discovered that in 1993, Jodie Valade held the position as Editor-in-Chief of The Talon at RHS. Since then, she has excelled in the field of journalism in various capacities. As the 2023 Editor-in-Chief 30 years later, I am in awe of her success.

Valade’s career began at our very own Rochester Talon. After graduating, she went on to further her education at Northwestern University, a school that is in the top 1% of the U.S. for journalism students pursuing a bachelor’s degree. She has had countless opportunities in the field of journalism such as working as a sports reporter for The Kansas City Star and The Dallas Morning News, teaching a journalism course at Cleveland State University, working as a sports features and enterprise reporter for The Plain Dealer, working as an editor for WFAE, an enterprise and planning editor for The Charlotte Observer and a freelance writer and editor. Valade has certainly paved her way in the journalism world and it all started at Rochester High School.

“I was a part of the Talon for 3 years,” said Valade. “ I knew I wanted to be a journalist from age 12, so I took a journalism requirement my freshman year and then I was on The Talon for the rest of high school.” From a young age, Valade admired the work of an American author, journalist and musician who achieved national recognition for sports writing in his early career. Inspiration is an understatement when it comes to the impact that this figure had on Valade’s aspirations as a journalist.

“I grew up reading Mitch Albom and he was kind of my writing hero,” said Valade. “I wanted to do what he did.” Valade’s passion for journalism began to truly take off when she pursued the position of Editor-in-Chief of The Talon. As the editor, it was her responsibility to oversee the daily business of the print newspaper, ensure the staff met responsibilities and copy edit all stories. Having later “made it” in the journalism world, Valade is grateful for her experience as the editor of The Talon.

“It gave me a good building block for sure,” said Valade. “Being on The Talon introduced me to the profession and the basics.” Valade has spent the last 30 years of her life making great advancements in journalism. For women interested in the field, she has set an inspiring example.

“I’m pretty proud that I was the first woman to cover the Dallas Mavericks, ” said Valade. “That was a pretty big accomplishment.” As well as this, Valade also feels that a great accomplishment of hers is just being able to write stories that make people think or feel or in a different way. Valade’s advice to the younger generation of aspiring journalists is to indulge in everything around you, to take advantage of the opportunities to learn about topics that you normally would not.

“Every time you report on something different, you have to learn everything you can about that topic or that person,” said Valade. “I think that’s the really cool part of being a journalist, your job is to constantly learn about new things.”

To me, Valade’s advice means to truly take in the world around you and to accumulate as much knowledge as you can. Reporting and interviewing on the most compelling topics allows us to do just that. From one Editor-in-Chief to another, I’m excited to leave my own legacy on The Talon. I’ve realized that it may feel like the end now, but this is where it all begins.

Valade interviewing football player Benjamin Watson
A story written by Valade in the Senior Issue of 1993