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I’m a lucky guy – not rich or famous, but healthy, happy and lucky.

Up to this point I’ve had three careers: broadcaster, teacher, and writer.

My writing career began with the Chicago Tribune, and I thought one day I would be a famous blogger, a Ben Smith, Robert Feder or Mike Royko (they were once called columnists). But then my broadcasting Muse came calling, and I found much delight in everything radio and television.

When my professional career ended – “Sorry to say this, Leo, but my TV station can’t have two managers… and, well, you are not my son.” – I was hired to teach broadcasting at the renowned Radio-TV Department at Southern Illinois University. Lucky, huh? For many years, I got a big kick out of teaching professional practices to the best and brightest students in the Midwest.

A few years into my academic career something unforeseen happened – the Soviet Union collapsed. It was an extraordinary moment for Western allies, and the US State Department saw an opportunity to turn former communist governments to our way of life. The Department needed “credentialed experts,” academics who had professional experience and I fit the bill. Fortunate once again, see?

It kicked off a 25-year career of living and working in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East. I am most proud of my work in Azerbaijan, where I helped establish the Azerbaijan-American Academy of Journalism. For a naive Chicago kid, the experience filled my writer’s notebook with ideas for future tales.

Workshops & Resources

Did you recently attend Leo Gher’s workshop?

You can download the materials here.


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