Bob Grip ~ News Icon Celebrates 25 Years at SHC
While growing up in Connecticut, Bob Grip always dreamed about a career in broadcast news. As a junior high school student, he shared that ambition with a guidance counselor, hoping for support and encouragement. The advice Grip received was quite the opposite.
“He told me to do something ‘normal’ instead,” says Grip. “I’m so glad I didn’t listen. I would have missed out on the adventure of a lifetime!”
The FOX10 news anchor didn’t just go on to become an award-winning journalist and regional icon; he’s also familiar face and favorite instructor on the Spring Hill College campus. This January, Grip celebrated 25 years of teaching at SHC.
After Grip began work as an anchor at FOX10 News in 1984, Spring Hill College administrators soon approached him about teaching broadcast journalism on campus. Twenty-eight students enrolled in his first class, held in an old, wooden barracks—a far cry from the beautiful buildings which grace the campus today.
“While my broadcast journalism class has morphed into ‘multimedia journalism’ over the years, it’s never stayed the same,” says Grip. “Every year, I restructure the content to stay current with the technological and story-telling needs of the industry. Being an instructor at SHC has taught me to practice what I preach. After all, my students can check out my work on a daily basis by just turning on their TV or watching me on the web.”
Grip got his start in journalism as a weekend DJ at WBIS-AM in Bristol, Conn., right after graduating from high school. He later worked weekends as a “booth announcer” at WBNS-TV while attending graduate school at Ohio State University.
“While at WBNS, I met an anchor who left to become a news director in Mobile,” says Grip. “He said, ‘If you need a job when you finish class, call me up.’ I did, and that’s how I wound up as a reporter in Mobile. I stayed until 1981, and then moved to a TV station in Norfolk for 3 years before returning to work at WALA-TV.”
Having graduated from Boston College, a Jesuit institution, Grip says he feels completely at home with the atmosphere at Spring Hill. His favorite part of being an instructor is watching students learn and grow as a result of what’s going on in the classroom.
“I love watching for the “eureka” moment in the eyes of a student, knowing he or she has really ‘gotten’ it,” says Grip. “My goals have stayed the same for the class; I want a student to either graduate from Spring Hill and get a multimedia job, or if not, become a more critical consumer of news.”
Grip encourages all of his journalism students to intern at a television station, magazine, or another media outlet. “Getting that real life experience is crucial, and gives students an edge when it comes to kick-starting a successful career,” says Grip. “At FOX10 News, we’ve hired more than a dozen of my Spring Hill College students over the years, and many more have gone on to work in a variety of journalism and media jobs across the country. I really enjoy hearing from them on Twitter or Facebook to see what they’re doing.”
Mentoring fledgling reporters and interns is just one part of Grip’s many responsibilities at WALA-TV. He also handles web duties, script approval and posts stories on a variety of social media sites (follow him on Twitter @Bob_Grip).
While on campus, Grip enjoys spending time in the Spring Hill College student center and cafeteria. “It’s a place where I get to share lively conversation and plenty of laughter with colleagues from different departments,” says Grip. “The camaraderie and close-knit feeling on campus is just one of the joys of attending a smaller school. I advise all of my students to engage their professors, make new friends, and build wonderful memories.”
In his free time, Grip spends time with his wife, his grandsons Ben and Gabe, his daughters, and their husbands. He’s also enjoyed serving on the former Jesuit Volunteer Corps-South Board of Directors and is currently a member of the Board of the Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh. “As an Eastern Rite Catholic, it’s a way of coming full circle in my faith,” says Grip.