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41st Annual Professional Recognition Awards and Scholarship Banquet

April 27, 2019, 6 PM cocktails, 7 PM dinner

at Genesee Grande, 1060 East Genesee St, Syracuse

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Our Rundown

Poynter

Joseph A. Porcello

Herald-Journal
Herald American
Club President: 1961

Joe Porcello decided what he wanted to do with his life when he was 11 years old. He wanted to be a writer.
He had just finished Mark Twain's "Tom Sawyer." Twain had resided in Elmira after marrying Olivia Langdon, whose home was a half block from where Joe's family lived. After he learned Twain (Samuel Clemens) had been a newspaperman, Joe decided he, too, could hone his writing skills on a newspaper.

Joe spoke no English when he arrived in New York in 1924 from Sicily with his mother, but he was determined to write. So he heeded the advice of his cousins in Brooklyn to learn the language. Reading helped Joe learn quickly, and English soon became one of his best subjects in school.

In the seventh grade, he helped to start a class newspaper. He worked four years on his high school paper, and four years on the Daily Orange (associate editor in his senior year) while a journalism major at Syracuse University. He even wrote news and features for the Aleutian Echo, an Air Force monthly, while stationed in the Aleutians during World War II.

After seven years as a newsboy, Joe got his first daily newspaper job - wrapping newspapers for delivery to stores and handling cash sales to newsboys at Elmira's Star Gazette. He took the job in circulation hoping it would help him get upstairs in the newsroom. It did. He was hired in 1949 as state editor for the Elmira Advertiser upon graduation from SU.

He returned to SU that fall on a fellowship. In 1950, he took a job at the Auburn Citizen. In March 1951, he joined the Syracuse Herald-.Journal where he worked until he "retired" in 1986.

His first reporting assignment was county government and hotels. Next he covered courts for 15 years, worked on the city desk and filled in for vacationing staff (including Business Editor Ken Sparrow) until he was named business editor in 1971. He covered business and industry and wrote a Sunday business column in the Herald American for the next 14-plus years.

Among the honors Joe received is a prize in the annual statewide New York Bar Association competition on court reporting, several business awards, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Syracuse Press Club, which he helped found in 1951 and served as president in 1961.

Joe got what he considers the only true "scoop" of his career in 1976, while covering a savings banks meeting in Colorado Springs. While touring NORAD's headquarters, he learned of plans to close Syracuse's Hancock Air Base. An interview with a general at NORAD's headquarters confirmed the report, and Joe was able to dictate a story the next morning in time for the H-J's first edition.

Joe covered many top business stories, including United Technologies' takeover of Carrier Corp. and the coming of the Anheuser-Busch and Miller breweries to Central New York.

In retirement, Joe continued writing by doing four company profiles for a New York State book. In 1988-89, he wrote 55 company profiles and three chapters of the local business book, "Syracuse -- The Heart of New York." He also worked part-time for Eagle Newspapers and wrote magazine articles.

About his original goal, Joe says, "I found newspaper writing so interesting, I put fiction writing on the back burner. But now I am getting back to it with a book."
Last Updated ( Monday, 17 November 2008 01:27 )
 
"Freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of [achieving] a free society."
Felix Frankfurter, Associate Justice, US Supreme Court

Wall of Distinction


Robert R. Haggart

The Post-Standard

Herald-Journal

Herald American

“This is my valentine to Brenda Marie McCabe Haggart. Unfortunately, this valentine will not look or taste as good as those hearts that grade school teachers in Kansas helped me cut out and paste on big pieces of red paper. I can still taste the paste. It tasted almost as good as a peanut-butter sandwich. Writing this public confession of joy may seem a little arrogant on my part, Brenda, since I didn't ask you if I could do it. But you owe me one. My voice is gone.”
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