Dowagiac community editor says farewell after 33 years of service
Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Benjamin Franklin once said that successful people “either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.”
By those standards, John Eby’s 33-year career at the Dowagiac Daily News has been a success. Eby has a new job as the senior writer and media relations’ coordinator at Southwestern Michigan College.
Throughout his career at the Daily News, Eby met enough people to fill a memoir. “I met so many incredible people,” he said. “Think of all the people that I know that I never would have known if I hadn’t been in this profession.”
While he is quick to note that he worked with great people form the Dowagiac community every day, Eby also said that he has met his share of celebrities while on the job.
“Between the Economic Club and the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival, I’ve met and written about pretty much everyone I’ve ever admired, like Kurt Vonnegut, my favorite writer growing up, Joseph Heller, author of Catch22, one of my favorite books. Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, one of my icons in rock – I talked to him on the phone about the Beatles!” he said. “I just thought that was so cool. I never left Dowagiac.”
Eby and his work for the Daily News have been referenced in several famous publications, most notably after a Reagan-era report about a congressman’s speech to the Dowagiac Optimists Club drew national attention.
Despite the long list of celebrities he has interviewed, the majority of Eby’s career was spent writing about the typical happenings of the city of Dowagiac, stories covering a wide array of topics from politics to police to pageants.
“When I go back now, it’s like I’ve been keeping a diary for 30 years. I can see what I did every day since the 80s,” Eby said.
Over the course of his career, John worked for seven publishers, with countless other staff members and through huge changes in publishing technology. Eby said he has done his best to be a thorough and accurate, fair and balanced reporter.
Eby’s resume also boasts a long list of awards and dedications, including a first place columnist award from the Detroit Press Club Foundation, the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals’ Award for Educational Reporting, being named a Paul Harris Fellow (the first Dowagiac non-Rotarian so honored by the club), the Rotary District 6360 Foundation Golden Trowel Award, a book dedication in Michael Collins’ Lost Souls and, most recently the Michigan Primary Care Association Faces of Michigan Health Care Media Award.
Awards aside, Eby said that his chosen work has brought him numerous blessings, including meeting his wife, several of his idols and being able to work in his hometown
“I never really considered anything else. I like to write. I like the proximity. As a shy person, I never wanted to be the one in the spotlight, but I always liked to be close enough to see what was going on, kind of behind the scenes,” he said.
Eby, who considers himself an introvert, also enjoyed the opportunity his job gave him to experiences things he would otherwise have missed. “By nature, I’m inconspicuous,” he said. “I did things as a journalist I would have never done as myself.”
Judging by his long list of loyal readers over the past three decades, it’s safe to say the city of Dowagiac is glad that he did.