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My writing career began when a young managing editor at the Akron Beacon Journal took a chance on me. At the time, I was a mother of a one year old, 23 years old, without a driver’s license and little self-confidence.

But Robert Giles, now curator at Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalists, liked that I had worked toward my career goal so diligently through the years. I was editor of my junior high, high school and finally, at Kent State University newspapers. And I was willing to work in the women’s department as it was named in 1969. I wrote engagement and wedding announcements. This work involved coming in on Saturdays so I often think I was doing Giles the favor.

After more than decade of full and part time work at the Beacon Journal, where in 1971 the newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize for its May 4 KSU shootings general reporting coverage, I moved to Florida. I had no job but I wanted to be near my parents. The St. Petersburg Times hired me but not before editor Andrew Barnes told me, “We don’t hire off the street.” Again, a young managing editor stepped up and offered me the food writer job.

I guess Mike Foley, now an acclaimed professor and associate dean at the University of Florida, figured with my strong Midwest background I would know a spatula from a wire whisk.

I left the St. Petersburg Times for the Des Moines Register – by this time I was a TV critic – to work for spectacular editor Geneva Overholser, now dean at USC Annenberg’s School of Journalism. Then I married photographer Ray Bassett in 1995 and returned to Florida, to the Times as a stringer. I began a fulltime job at the Tampa Tribune in January 1997 and worked there until July 2008.

Somehow in this journalism career, I squeezed in a job with the 57th PGA Championship, certainly my most memorable of experiences.