Dellimore talks success

By Michael Berg

Students aspiring to be reporters must be both good at their craft and very lucky to succeed in the field.

Craig Dellimore, suburban bureau chief of WBBM-AM Newsradio 78 in Chicago, spoke at NIU on Thursday about his job and the journalism business.

Dellimore gave five tips for success in the news business.

First, start somewhere small and move later into the larger markets, he said.

He cautioned the audience to be prepared for the “business to be really weird and tricky.”

Dellimore said, “place yourself in a position where luck is more likely. Take opportunities to make contacts with people.”

“Have a very high tolerance for disappointment,” and “really try to learn your craft,” were his last two bits of advice.

Dellimore began his career as a copyboy for the New York Times and through contacts and luck moved into radio at CBS and later at the Associated Press.

The pressure deadlines in broadcast were unbelievable, he said. CBS expected 25 stories an hour on average. “The AP is not a good place to work forever,” he said.

At WBBM, he first covered Illinois. Dellimore said going to Springfield “was a good training ground for covering government in general.” He also covered the federal courts. “You haven’t lived through dull until you watch a trial of federal corruption,” he said.

Dellimore expressed his concern over the low numbers of minorities in the radio profession. “We need more minorities and women making decisions on what stories we cover than we have now,” he said.

He said integration takes longer on radio because you can’t see them like you can on T.V. The audience doesn’t push for more minority representation on radio because you usually don’t know the racial background of who you’re listening to.

Dellimore pointed out that 25 percent of WBBM’s listeners are black, which he thought was a positive sign.

The bottom line is minority numbers in the profession would grow if it made the audience larger, he said.

The lecture was sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists.