A Tribute to a Sporting Champ

Departing Sports Editor Jeff Vorva really hit it out of the park during his career at The Regional News and The Reporter newspaper.

No rookie, Jeff began reporting for The Regional in 2012 after leaving the Tribune organization a few years after he covered the Cubs for the Sun-Times company. The paper managed to recruit him to be our general assignment reporter. A big fan of his work, I, the editor at that time, wanted his talents to go to bat for The Regional.

It was a pleasure to work with Jeff and edit his copy: news and feature stories he wrote for The Regional. He never struck out, covering his beats and filling the news pages with his photos and bylines. The enterprising reporter always showed hustle to find most story ideas on his own, digging behind the news for human-interest stories in the community.

Not long after he was hired, he wrote a moving story about the tragedy of a young Palos Park man who was paralyzed after being shot in Champaign. That story would be nominated for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Award bestowed by the Chicago Headline Club. Other honors and awards for journalistic excellence were to come.

Having an irreverent sense of humor, Jeff often cracked up the office. You could always count on him to lighten some of the day, but never at the expense of his workload. A prolific writer, he met his deadlines, turning out quality work.

When the position of editor of The Reporter became vacant, I supported promoting Jeff to that post. Sure, The Regional would lose a great reporter, but our sister newspaper gained much more under his dynamic leadership.  I knew he would devote himself to making it a more attractive and readable source of local news and features.

He soon indeed transformed The Reporter with his own great photography, attention-grabbing headlines that won awards and solid reporting.  He began writing a weekly column for The Reporter, which I eagerly put also in The Regional. It ran the bases of content and hit a homerun with the readers.

For Jeff Vorva, one of the worst errors a writer can make is to be boring. His copy is always alive with interest as he engages the reader from start to finish. A careful interviewer and good listener, he has a real desire and uncanny ability to elicit great quotes from his sources.

Jeff was a natural to eventually become the sports editor for Southwest Community Publishing. He spends many a night after work covering games and mining stories, including Fridays and weekends, often going from one game to another, especially during high school football season. He is never without his camera to illustrate his sports stories. His dramatic photos often make it to Page One of the news section as teasers for the sports pages.

And few venues are too far for Jeff to travel to cover a local team or athlete competing at a stadium or university across the state.  He did all this while managing to attend many of his two children’s high school sporting events and carting them to visit colleges.

A truly sporting individual and family man — fair, just, honorable and decent – Jeff has also been a kind co-worker, generous with his time supporting their causes or attending their family events, whether a fundraiser, wedding or wake. I am certain that his colleagues and most of his readers wish him all the best as he leaves the field at The Regional and Reporter.