From network TV… to local TV… to PBS. That’s not the typical progression of a broadcast journalism career, but in the case of award-winning reporter and anchor John Ferrugia, it has turned out to be the logical path.
Ferrugia told Denver Post TV critic Joanne Ostrow that he feels he got out of network TV just in time. When he left New York for the West Coast at the end of the 1980s, the networks were contracting. He was also looking for a less hectic and more affordable place to raise a family. From Ostrow’s piece:
Ferrugia, 65, is a proud University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism alum (he grew up in Fulton, Miss.) who talks wistfully about his days as a White House correspondent, about inheriting Charles Kuralt’s office at CBS News in New York, sitting on the floor on deadline nights with Meredith Vieira, sharing Chinese food and working with young turks at the news magazine [West 57th] until it was canceled in 1989.
This month, after two-plus decades with Denver ABC affiliate KMGH Channel 7, Ferrugia has moved on once more. Installed at Rocky Mountain PBS since March 1, he feels it was the right time to get out of the local TV news game:
“Commercial broadcast TV is under pressure to serve the audience’s shorter attention span,” Ferrugia said. “This is an opportunity to do longer-form work.”
He’ll lose salary but gain flexibility, namely relief from doing a 10 p.m. newscast. That’s a plus for a family with a high-schooler still at home.
In the Post piece, Ferrugia, a devout Catholic, also draws a lively comparison between a highlight of his own career and the meticulous efforts depicted in the Oscar-winning film Spotlight. At RMPBS, he will serve as both principal anchor and managing editor.