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

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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

Preview: White Sox continue series with Tigers on CSN

Preview: White Sox continue series with Tigers on CSN

The White Sox continue their road series with the Tigers on Tuesday night in the Motor City, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage from Detroit starts at 6 p.m. Then be sure to stick around following the final out for reaction and analysis on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today's starting pitching matchup: Anthony Ranaudo (0-1, 7.88 ERA) vs. Daniel Norris (2-2, 3.63 ERA)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you're ready for the action.

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— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.

— See what fans are talking about before, during and after the game with White Sox Pulse.

Isaiah Wright, young fan with cancer, receives VIP treatment from White Sox

Isaiah Wright, young fan with cancer, receives VIP treatment from White Sox

Berwyn-native and White Sox fan Isaiah Wright entered the world fighting the odds. At just 14 years old, he has undergone multiple organ transplants and more than 50 surgeries because of a rare birth defect.

Isaiah and his family have an appreciation for just how precious life can be and they were able to make the most of a recent visit to the South Side for a White Sox game, where he received VIP treatment and met his favorite players, including a private meeting with Jose Abreu.

Check out the video above.

A Go Fund Me page was also created to help support Isaiah and his family. Click here to make a donation.

Tigers' late homer sends the White Sox to another tough loss

Tigers' late homer sends the White Sox to another tough loss

DETROIT — The White Sox still haven’t figured out how to beat their American League Central foes.

Short of a miracle run over their final 32 games, the White Sox can point to their failures within their division as a primary reason they’ve missed the postseason for eight straight seasons.

The middle of the White Sox order missed out on several key chances on Monday night and kept the Detroit Tigers within striking distance in a 4-3 loss in front 27,201 on Monday night at Comerica Park. Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s two-run homer off Nate Jones in the eighth inning dropped the White Sox to 11-27 against the Tigers, Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals this season. The White Sox dropped to 21-25 in one-run games.

“Usually when you have aspirations to get in the playoffs your No. 1 priority is always taking care of the teams in your division,” catcher Alex Avila said. “That’s the best way to go about it, and we haven’t really done that too well this year.”

Much like their postseason aspirations, the White Sox had been hanging on by a thread through seven innings on Monday.

Starter James Shields stranded seven in six innings, and the combination of Dan Jennings, Tommy Kahnle and Chris Beck kept the White Sox ahead 3-2 through the seventh.

Jones took over in the eighth and issued a leadoff walk to J.D. Martinez. Two batters later, Saltalamacchia ripped a 1-0 fastball out to right to put Detroit ahead for good.

Melky Cabrera’s bid for a game-tying homer in the ninth off Francisco Rodriguez was caught on the track in right-center field.

“Any time you get that reversal right there late in the game it’s always tough,” manager Robin Ventura said. “Nate has been as consistent as anybody. It’s a tough one, especially when you know he has his stuff. You tip your cap to them, really.

“Salty has gotten us a couple times late.

“That was the tough one because you grinded your way through it.”

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It was made even more difficult given the White Sox offense missed out on several key opportunities.

Tyler Saladino drove in all three White Sox runs, delivering a two-run single in the fourth inning and putting them back ahead by a run with a solo homer in the seventh.

But in the first, Jose Abreu struck out and Todd Frazier flew out with two aboard.

Abreu later grounded into a double play in the fifth after the first two men reached and Frazier grounded out. Frazier also struck out with two in scoring position to end the seventh inning after Abreu doubled Cabrera over to third.

The White Sox finished 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine.

“It was a game with opportunities we didn’t cash in on,” Ventura said. “(Alex) Wilson came in and got a big double play really changed how that (fifth) inning developed. We did some good things but looking at it like this, that’s what makes it tough.”

Though he pushed the limit in nearly every inning, Shields finished a rough August on a high note. Much like he did when he posted a 1.71 ERA in six starts from June 29-July 26, Shields was most effective when he needed to make the big pitch.

Tigers hitters were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven against Shields. During the six-game stretch, opposing hitters went 0-for-28 against Shields with runners in scoring position.

He struck out six and allowed two earned runs in six innings, putting the White Sox in position for a much-needed win.

“The first couple of innings I was a little erratic, but as the game went on, I got a little more comfortable and just made some pitches when I needed to,” Shields said. “Overall, I felt good out there, and unfortunately we lost the game.”