My alma mater profiles me briefly, brilliantly

My St. John’s University alma mater recently profiled in its glossy magazine a number of alumni who have worked as professional journalists.

Writer Dana Drazenovich whipped up a bunch of bios that are brilliant in their brevity and yet sum up professional lives perfectly.

When she sent me a draft of my bio, I responded:

This anal control freak read and re-read and re-re-read your fine piece, looking with increasing desperation for something to tweak. No dice. It’s perfect.

Here is the bio (which is now slightly out of date because my professional circumstances have shifted a bit, but is still a marvel of journalistic minimalism):

Being a self-described nerd has paid off for Julio Ojeda-Zapata ’85, a St. Paul Pioneer Press and technology journalist and blogger, author of three books and contributing editor for Apple enthusiast site TidBITS.

Ojeda-Zapata knew he wanted to be a journalist as an introverted but ambitious boy writing for his parochial school newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Saint John’s helped him find his voice. “I just thrived there,” he says. 

He majored in political science, got his master’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and, in 1987, landed a job at the Pioneer Press. His lifelong fascination with technology — his nerd tendency — was a perfect fit for the new technology beat when the internet exploded in the 1990s. He is now a highly regarded tech writer who frequently contributes his expertise to other local and national media outlets.

“My trajectory in hindsight was perfect. I came out of my education phase as well-rounded,” he says. “I feel I’m a much better person and much better journalist for having studied at Saint John’s.”

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