A gentleman journalist in academe
Sam G. Riley
Riley is a professor of communication at Virginia Tech.
In 1981, newly arrived as communication department head at Virginia Tech, I was visiting The Roanoke Times & World News to meet the publisher, editors, columnists and reporters.
One tall, distinguished-looking fellow I especially enjoyed meeting was editor of the commentary page and writer of a delightful column I had greatly enjoyed reading. “How’d you like to come teach a journalism course with us?” I asked.
He looked pleased but replied that he didn’t think he could do both his job at the paper and teach, too. “Well,” I said, “just keep it in mind. Maybe later.” I had no idea that his family had owned the paper, Channel 7, etc. I knew him only through his column. When someone described Bob Fishburn’s background, I thought, good grief. No wonder he didn’t want to teach.