A brilliant journalist trades in his source list to join Pennsylvania Governor Corbett’s Administration

Posted by By at 3 February, at 16 : 39 PM Print

Dennis Roddy

It is an all too often repeated day in the world of journalism, but something that has sadly become so routine over the last couple of years in the industry; the list of brain drain continues to grow.

This time, it’s the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and its readers who end up on the short and near side of the grizzled stick.

After nearly 40 years, Dennis Roddy is throwing in his award winning work and Associated Press Style book. Roddy, a highly skilled, and gifted journalist, is not retiring or setting off to write a brilliant tell-all novel, nope, he is moving on to join Governor Corbett’s Administration, specifically in the area of communications.

I reached Roddy with the idea of talking to him today about the decisions that led him to walk-away from a spectacular career, but he graciously told me that my request would have to go through Kevin Harley. Harley is the spokesperson for Governor Corbett, and under most circumstances, it should be a perfunctory task performed with a singular call to the press office and getting a thumbs up or down.

How could Harley say no? You see, getting Roddy to join the Corbett Administration, is in my mind something worth talking about, because it is a serious coup, sort of like when the Phillie’s managed to convince Pitcher Cliff Lee to come back to Philadelphia. But at this point, it would be something a few steps short of a miracle if Harley returned my call.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have reached out to Harley on almost a daily basis to either get information, or attempt to set up interviews; the list is growing, and not a single call or email has come from his office.

Rock The Capital’s Tom Dochat made at least a handful of calls to Harley for his recent piece on selling the Liquor Control Board, and I know that RTC is not the only media outlet having a tough go of getting information from the governor’s office.

We don’t take this personally, and on the surface, it sounds petty, but its not, because surely a vast many of these requests have to do with policy, and other timely issues that are of pressing nature to scores of Pennsylvanians.

The fact that the Corbett Administration still has the new-car smell has not been lost on me and that Harley likely spends a lot of time in crucial meetings; my question is why not give someone else the day to day reigns?

That will not be Roddy’s role, as he put it to me he is headed for the, “bowels of the governor’s communications office.”

(Roddy agreed to one personal interview, probably before he thought better of it, or Corbett’s people got to him, you can read it by clicking on Rock The Capital.)


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Eric is a national award winning storyteller. Eric’s work is credited with changing laws, saving lives, and in one instance, saving taxpayers about $2,000,000.00. Mr. Zager’s career in journalism is ripped from the pages of an adventure novel. Upon graduating from the esteemed Newhouse School of Public Communications, he headed north, about as far as one can travel and still stand in the Continental U.S. The call of journalism not a penchant to play with Polar Bears brought Zager to the ‘Last Frontier-Juneau, Alaska. Over the course of Zager’s more than 20 years in journalism, he has covered the political side of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, dodged horse manure on the backside of Churchill Downs, and has uncovered numerous scams and scam artists. Eric is constantly in search of a meaningful story to tell. - Email Eric Zager

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