After a 25-year career as an award-winning journalist and community newspaper editor, Jack Murray now applies his talents as a freelance writer.
Dubbing himself, “Jack of all words, master of words that speak,” Jack created this website which showcases his writing portfolio. His credits include seven awards from prominent Illinois press associations, a book on the memoirs of a Fortune 500 executive and a co-authored self-help book, featuring his beloved cat, PurSneakity.
A self-proclaimed “snackoisseur,” Jack created a blog about favorite snacks that inspire his nostalgic vignettes about Americana. He also co-authors a blog, “Pet Ways to Ease Stress,” found on PsychCentral.com.
Enchanted by biographical tales of princes and emperors, Jack’s passion for writing began in childhood. Given his fascination with stories — past and present — he earned his bachelor’s degree in history and political science at the University of Illinois. At the advice of his favorite professor, he became a writer.
Short Trip from Reporter to Editor
Hired on the spot as a part-time journalist for The Reporter, a weekly community newspaper in Chicago’s south suburbs, Jack embarked on his writing career. Within six months, his boss promoted him to the full-time position of general assignment reporter and photographer. While he held this position, he penned an engaging column “My First Job,” which featured humorous accounts of community members’ first jobs. Upon receiving a promotion to the post of Editor, he redesigned the newspaper and increased readership by 20 percent. Additionally, he won first- and second-place awards for the best editorial from the Illinois Press Association.
In 2004, Jack assumed the position of Editor of The Regional News, a weekly community newspaper in Palos Heights, Illinois. Here, he managed a staff of two full-time reporters and several part-time reporters. As a mentor, he emphasized time-honored writing tips: 1) use strong verbs, 2) make every word, sentence, and paragraph count and 3) never, never miss a deadline! In 2009, his editorial, “Hope is Calling” won a first-place award from the Illinois Press Association. His peak accomplishment was writing a series of editorials that helped save a fitness center (serving people with disabilities) from being torn down.
Jack participated in a variety of community service efforts over the years. In 2000, he served a term as the president of the Worth-Chicago Ridge Chamber of Commerce. While volunteering for the Palos Lions Club, Jack ranked as the top seller of raffle tickets for two years in a row. He also enjoyed “shaking the can,” collecting donations at prominent intersections on Candy Day. Additionally, he and his wife organized a day-long retreat on “Easing Stress” which featured physicians, counselors and clergy members.
Although Jack writes on many topics, his special interests include biographical sketches, local and national politics, digital marketing, promoting community events, and nostalgia.