5 Questions with... ABC 7 News' John Garcia

211734.jpg

5 Questions with... ABC 7 News' John Garcia

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite weekly local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

Every Wednesday exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weeks guest one of the top news reporters on the local television scene whose passion and dedication to his craft is second to none speaking of passion and dedication, hes also a avid marathon runner who can be seen participating in almost every local race out there, including the Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon on Aug. 1 from ABC 7 News, here are 5 Questions with JOHN GARCIA!

BIO: John Garcia is a general assignment reporter for ABC 7 News. He joined ABC 7 News in 1994 and served as co-anchor of ABC 7 Sunday Morning News from 1995-97.

Garcia came to ABC 7 from KSAT-TV, the ABC station in San Antonio, Texas, where he co-anchored the morning and noon newscasts (1994). Previously, he worked as a reporter and fill-in anchor at KXAS-TV in Dallas (1991-94).

From 1988-91, Garcia served as a reporter and fill-in anchor at KOAT-TV in Albuquerque, N.M. Earlier in his career, he was a reporter and weekend anchor at KMID-TV in Midland, Texas (1987-88) and a reporter at KITV-TV in Sioux City, Iowa (1986-87).

Garcia has been honored with numerous awards, including the 1999 Drake University Young Alumni Achievement Award. He won recognition from the Associated Press with their award for Best Series and received Best Spot News honors from the Northwest Broadcasters Association (1986-87). He also won the Dallas Katie Award for spot news in 1993.

Garcia is active on the boards of the South Chicago Mexican-American Patriotic Club and the American Lung Association and serves as the president of the Drake University Journalism National Alumni Board. He is a member of the Chicago Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. An avid runner, Garcia has completed seven marathons, including the Chicago Marathon. Click here to check out his "Running News Guy" Blog.

Garcia is a Chicago native and earned his B.A. degree in Broadcast Journalism in 1986 from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He is married and resides on the North Side of Chicago.

1) CSNChicago.com: John, youve enjoyed solid success as one of the citys top news reporters for ABC 7 for a number of years now. However, in a market this size, you obviously have plenty of competition out there from your fellow reporters at other stations who are also trying to break stories and provide viewers with the most detailed updates available at that particular moment. What would you say is your biggest daily challenge in your line of work and how do you differentiate yourself from your competition?

Garcia: The biggest challenge I face every day is to be ready for anything. I might have a story Ive been developing for weeks and its set to air on a given night, then that evening there is a major fire and we have to drop everything and run to that story instead. I enjoy the fact that you never know what your day is going to bring when you go to work. That said, I try to differentiate myself from my friends at the other stations by working a little harder on getting facts and sources they may not have gotten. I also really enjoy storytelling. I think the right combination of writing and video make television a compelling way to help viewers experience the news in a way they could not get in newspapers or radio.

2) CSNChicago.com: As someone who gets the opportunity to cover many fascinating stories about our city, it has to be extremely difficult reporting on the unfortunately too-common violent deaths of youths in our city. Is it tough to keep your emotions in check when you have to report on yet another tragic homicide and does it ever get to you emotionally off-camera on how sad this ongoing, tragic problem really is in our city?

Garcia: Its sad. You have to be professional and work to get the story right. If you do your job right, viewers at home will have a better understanding of just how sad many of these incidents are and hopefully be moved to become part of the solution. I find myself especially moved by stories that involve children. Since our oldest was born five years ago, I relate to these stories in a much more personal way.

3) CSNChicago.com: Whats the most memorable sporting event youve ever attended in Chicago?

Garcia: Thats a tough one. Having grown up in Chicago as a huge sports fan, I feel really blessed to have covered most every major sports event in the area for the last 16 years. Ive covered fans at the Super Bowl, the NBA finals and, most recently, the Stanley Cup. But probably the most memorable was the White Sox World Series championship. I was on the field talking to fans, players and rock stars (Steve Perry) right after the Sox won the Series in Houston. I was told later that I seemed to have a perpetual smile on my face on the air. It was just so much fun. And, truth be told, I grew up a Cubs fan. Im hoping I dont have to go my whole career without getting to experience a World Series on the North Side!

4) CSNChicago.com: In your opinion, whos the funniest on-camera talent at ABC 7 that viewers at home would never guess can bring out laughter to your colleagues on a regular basis?

Garcia: Paul Meincke is probably the guy we all respect the most as a great writer, reporter and journalist. Hes also a leader in the newsroom and a go-to guy whenever there is a big story. Hes also one of the funniest guys you will ever meet. He has a dry, ironic, sense of humor and draws an audience in the newsroom whenever he tells stories. He also is famous for writing and reciting limericks about various people and events hes covered for more than a quarter century in Chicago.

5) CSNChicago.com: It was mentioned earlier about your dedicated passion for running, particularly in marathons. How did your interest in running come about and whats your personal best marathon finish time to date?

Garcia: I grew up playing all sports, but in high school I eventually narrowed it down to track, because that was where I had the most success. I ran track and cross country in college as a walk-on, and really enjoyed the opportunity. But running eventually grew into my release from the pressures of work and family. The marathon is a real challenge, and training for it requires discipline in order to fit all the workouts into your schedule. Ive run 3:19 twice, which is not a great time, but was enough to qualify for the Boston marathon after I turned 40. My current focus, however is on the half marathon. Im really excited about running the Rock-N-Roll Chicago Half Marathon on Aug. 1. Its a more manageable distance and lots of fun, with bands playing every mile and a big concert featuring Five For Fighting at the end.

BONUS QUESTION CSNChicago.com: Anything you want to plug, John? Tell us CSNChicago.com readers want to hear about it.

Garcia: The Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon is full, but you can still get in by joining the American Cancer Societys charity program DetermiNation.

By joining the American Cancer Societys DetermiNation program, runners and walkers can dedicate their training and participation in the event to the fight against cancer. Members of the DetermiNation endurance program receive special benefits leading up to and the day of the "Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon," including free team training, elite race-weekend VIP amenities (including a concert on the Friday before the race with Uncle Kracker!), invitations to exclusive social events and online tools needed to make achieving fundraising goals easy and fun.

I hosted a fundraiser after running the Boston Marathon last year and raised over 2,000 for MAB Community Services and I was surprised at how easy fundraising is. I encourage you to try running for a great cause like ACS and enjoy all the benefits of running with a charity team.

Garcia LINKS:

ABC 7 News home page

John Garcias Running News Guy blog

John Garcia on Facebook

Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon home page

American Cancer Societys DetermiNation site

Fast Break Morning Update: Bulls explode offensively to beat Bucks; Blackhawks battle Lightning tonight on CSN

Fast Break Morning Update: Bulls explode offensively to beat Bucks; Blackhawks battle Lightning tonight on CSN

Here are some of the top Chicago sports stories from a busy Sunday: 

Tonight on CSN: Blackhawks look to bounce back vs. Lightning

Nikola Mirotic, Bulls show some moxie in road win over Bucks

Today on CSN: White Sox battle Dodgers in spring training game

From ‘When It Happens’ to ‘Where It Happens,’ Cubs mining next generation of talent

Will lopsided loss shake Blackhawks from their slumber?

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson's foot could keep him out until late May

Joe Maddon doesn’t have any concerns about new Cubs closer Wade Davis

Nick Delmonico takes advantage of fresh start with White Sox

Cubs expect Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell to be ready for Opening Night

Owners to consider on and off field changes this week during NFL meetings

From ‘When It Happens’ to ‘Where It Happens,’ Cubs mining next generation of talent

From ‘When It Happens’ to ‘Where It Happens,’ Cubs mining next generation of talent

MESA, Ariz. – The Cubs turned Theo Epstein’s “Baseball is Better” speech from his first Wrigley Field press conference into a marketing pitch that might distract fans for a moment from an awful big-league product.          

The 2017 “That’s Cub” ad campaign actually uses what started organically years ago within the farm system, two words that recognized a great at-bat or a heads-up play or a defensive stop.    

Business vs. baseball is no longer the dominant storyline it had been during the early phases of the Wrigleyvile rebuild. Business and baseball are booming for what’s become Major League Baseball’s version of the Golden State Warriors.

It’s just interesting that a franchise valued at north of $2 billion has found so much inspiration on the back fields of this spring-training complex, where staffers you wouldn’t recognize get to work before dawn and players you’ve never heard of dream about their big break.

It’s not just drafting Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber. And trading for Anthony Rizzo, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and Addison Russell. And hiring a manager obsessed with T-shirts. Baseball operations became a marketing department, selling prospects to Cub fans, the Chicago media and the gurus putting together the rankings – and trying to get buy-in from players who all think they belong in The Show.

Minor-league field coordinator Tim Cossins gets credit for “When It Happens,” a theme that didn’t simply revolve around 1908 and the championship drought. Jason McLeod, the senior vice president who oversees scouting and player development, suggested pairing the W flag with that phrase, and it became this ubiquitous idea around the team.   

“We tied everything into it,” McLeod said Sunday at Sloan Park. “When that time comes, when it happens, can you lay the bunt down? When it happens, can you execute a pitch? Can you go in and pinch-run, steal the base when the time comes?

“The big ‘When It Happens’ is when we win, of course, but for us in (player development), it was about everything that we’re going to be asked to do in that moment: Are you going to be ready when it happens?”

Now what? The defending World Series champs are going with: “Where It Happens.”

A bullet point from Epstein’s bio in this year’s media guide references how his first three first-round draft picks with the Cubs “combined to set up the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series when Schwarber singled and (Albert) Almora pinch-ran, moved to second on Bryant’s deep fly to center, and scored on Ben Zobrist’s double.”

“We’re never going to forget about the importance of young players,” Epstein said. “There’s definitely a lot of talented, interesting prospects still in the system and sometimes they get a little overshadowed because of the star young players we have at the big-league level and how quickly some of those guys moved through the system. But there’s a lot of talent there.

“We’re going to lean on young players beyond our prospects, not just in trades, but also to provide organizational depth and also to serve as the next generation, the next infusion of talent at the appropriate time.

“But it’s a process. There’s going to be a lot of ups and downs in development for all these guys. And we have a ton of faith in our player development operation to help these guys along the way.”

So Ian Happ will start the season one phone call away at Triple-A Iowa and see if some combination of injuries and his switch-hitting skills and defensive versatility gets him to the North Side at some point. Or used as a trade chip for pitching, the way third baseman Jeimer Candelario and catcher Victor Caratini appear to be blocked.

Joe Maddon already compared Eloy Jimenez – who can’t legally buy a beer in Wrigleyville yet – to a young Miguel Cabrera or Edgar Martinez. The Cubs are practically begging for someone like Eddie Butler to pitch his way into the 2018 rotation.

By Monday morning, when the full squad reconvenes after a weekend trip to Las Vegas, the Cubs could start making cuts and shaping their Opening Night roster. But the Cubs are going to need so much more than the 25 players who will be introduced next Sunday at Busch Stadium. Maddon used 26 pitchers and 149 different lineups last season. This is “Where It Happens.”

“If this particular group of youngsters were in a different organization that had a greater need right now, you’d probably hear a lot more about these guys,” Maddon said. “But the fact that they’re stuck behind a Bryant and a Russell and a Javy (Baez) and a Rizzo and a (Willson) Contreras and a Schwarber, et cetera, et cetera, it becomes more difficult to really push or project upon these guys.

“But I think these young guys have gone about their business really well. If it’s bothering them or if they’re concerned about that, they’re not showing that. I think they’ve put their best foot forward.”