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Photo by Brad Ziegler

In BU Today’sJump-start Your Job Search” series, BU alums are featured with short interviews describing their leadership in their field. Topics range from banking, advertising, tech start-ups, journalism, and nonprofit organizations.

Alums talk about how they got to be where they are, mistakes they’ve made, and what they’ve taken away from those mistakes. They tell us what they look for when hiring and offer advice for those just embarking on a career.

This week’s featured alum is Walter Middlebrook (’76), an assistant managing editor at The Detroit News, responsible for overseeing the paper’s investigative team. He also edits its weekly entertainment and opinion sections. Over the course of his career, he has written and edited for numerous newspapers, including the Minneapolis Star, the St. Paul Dispatch and Pioneer PressUSA TodayNewsday/N.Y. Newsday, and the New York Times, where he edited the paper’s “Styles of the Times” weekly section. Middlebrook was an assistant features editor at The Detroit News for a year in 1987 before heading to USA Today, and returned to the paper in 2007 as director of recruitment and community affairs. He was promoted to assistant managing editor of the “Metro” section in 2009 and assumed his current position in 2014.

Middlebrook received a College of Communication Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015.

BU Today: How did you come to study at BU?

Middlebrook: I was a transfer student who took a tortured path to get back to the school that originally accepted me for admission when I graduated from high school. At that time, I turned down the invitation from BU and spent two years at MIT, where I was introduced to journalism, believe it or not. I took a year off and spent a year as a clerk at the Boston Globe. I returned to my hometown of Memphis, Tenn., under the assumption that I was getting a reporting job at the newspaper there, but that fell through as I was told the only thing available at the paper was a “clerk” position. So I worked nights at the paper under horrible conditions and took a semester of classes at Memphis State University before returning to Boston, where I was admitted to Boston University, to begin studying for a degree in journalism.

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