Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
By John Jarosik
Bob Fallstrom is not your typical 88 year old. He is not a man who takes multiple naps a day, goes out to a golf course and plays 18 holes, or finds an old television series to help occupy his time.
He is a writer for the Herald & Review in Decatur, Illinois. “Newspaper gives me a purpose to get me up every morning,” Fallstrom said.
Fallstrom has been working for the paper for 66 years and is the longest tenured worker at the newspaper. In fact, he has been working at the newspaper longer than Hall of Fame baseball broadcaster Vin Scully has been calling games for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Fallstrom has had a very interesting life and has a great life story. It all started when he grew up playing baseball in Dixon, Illinois and found his love for sports.
“I loved playing ball, I would have played for free,” Fallstrom said.
He started out by working as a clerk for his local movie theater in hopes to get money to go to Northwestern University. Then a sudden decision changed his life.
After he graduated from high school in 1944, he was drafted into the Army to help protect his country.
Fortunately all he had to do was write reports for the army and give people updates about what was happening at war.
“I was lucky, I didn’t have to get shot at,” Fallstrom said.
He ended up getting out of the army in 1946 and went home and started working for his local town newspaper called the Dixon Evening Telegraph.
“I wanted to be a sports writer,” Fallstrom said.
He was able to do that when he came to the Herald & Review on January 3, 1949.
“I’ve covered, pro sports, college sports, and high school sports during my time as a sports writer,” Fallstrom said.
Fallstrom was a sports writer for 36 years and started to broad his horizons when he decided to cover news, features, and now community news.
“I got burned out with it, it was a lot of schools to cover,” Fallstrom said.
Since his move from sports writing, his love for writing has never left and as a result is why he still works at the newspaper today.
66 years is a long time and being an 88 year old in a profession like this is something to be amazed at.
“All I’ve ever done is work and do newspapers. They can drag me out but I’m never going to retire from this,” Fallstrom said.
His presence in the news room is great and many other writers enjoy having him around.
“I used to love working for Bob, he always gave me great stories,” senior writer Theresa Churchill said.
Bob Fallstrom is a true pioneer in the art of journalism. He is a great example of a professional journalist and one who deeply loves writing.
“I’ve had a great life actually, if I can do it and not get thrown out, why not?” Fallstrom said.