WSYR-AM-TVDuring 32 years of reporting on Central New York radio and television, Jerry Barsha gave meaning to the term "breaking news." He broke many exclusive stories and conducted news investigations that brought him recognition from the home audience and his peers alike.
One investigation resulted in federal and state hearings in New York City on the activities of people accused of international drug smuggling through Syracuse. Among his favorite stories, he found out that military recruiters changed high school records to meet enrollment quotas; told about evictions of non-Onondagas from Onondaga land; revealed the merger of Manlius and Pebble Hill schools; broke the Robert Garrow arrest for the murder of Alicia Hauck; and did series on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Onondaga County waste management.
While working on these scoops and his other on air duties, Jerry found time to teach generations of future news people at Onondaga Community College for 35 years.
Like many of his era, Jerry started his career wearing many hats. He anchored and reported news on radio and television, he did "color" stories on radio for SU football games, radio and TV commercials and even the weather on television.
Gerald Barsha was born and raised in Brooklyn. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1948 with a dual degree in radio broadcasting and political science. While at SU, he worked part time as an announcer at WAGE radio. Returning to New York, he attended the Columbia School of Broadcasting and worked with his father building houses among other jobs until his professional career in news broadcasting began at a radio station in Riverhead, Long Island.
It was his father, John, who influenced Jerry's decision to attend SU. The senior Barsha earned five letters in athletics at SU with high achievements in football and basketball, graduating cum laude in 1922. John was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the national scholastic honorary and went on to receive a law degree from SU. As an alumnus, John rarely missed a reunion or football game, each time journeying from Brooklyn to Syracuse with Jerry beside him.
In 1957, Jerry returned to Syracuse to join WSYR radio. A year later, he moved into WSYR's news department, and onto television in 1960. Jerry initiated the station's first weekend TV newscast, serving as anchor and weatherman. Among reporters working on Jerry's shifts were a young Bob Costas and Steve Kroft. On weekdays, he anchored radio news in the morning and reported for TV the rest of the day. He was also TV3's (WSTM's) "action reporter" for several years.
Jerry has received a number of awards, including the Syracuse Press Club's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990, and another citing his 35 years as a teacher at OCC.
Since his college days, he has had a serious interest in bridge, playing in many tournaments. He has been a Life Master of the American Contract Bridge League since 1964.
Jerry and his wife Martha have four daughters and six grandchildren. --Joseph A. Porcello
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 10 September 2009 15:49 )|
|"Criticism of government finds sanctuary in several portions of the 1st Amendment. It is part of the right of free speech. It embraces freedom of the press."
--- Hugo L Black, Associate Justice, US Supreme Court