Professor Spotlight John Morano

Professor Spotlight: John Morano

Throughout life, everyone follows a different path. The road to success may not be easy, but through hard work and sacrifice anything can be achievable. John Morano, Professor of Communication, reflected, “I never thought my life would work out like this. I never thought, not in my wildest dreams, that my career would go where it took me and where it is right now.”

“I’ve worked really hard to get here. If you asked me when I graduated college if I’d be a journalist and professor at Monmouth University, nature novelist, and doing some of the other things I do, I would have laughed and said, ‘I don’t think so,’” Morano continued.

At Monmouth, Morano’s courses include:  Newswriting, Feature Writing, Writing the Review, and Introduction to Journalism. He has also served as the faculty advisor for The Outlook for 30 years. Outside the University, he is the author of the Morano Eco-Adventure Book Series, and is an owner of Bubbakoo’s Burritos franchises in Wall Township and Toms River.

Morano’s journey began by taking a film course in college and being a film critic for the school paper, during this time, he realized a passion for analyzing film. After earning two bachelor degrees in English and film from Clark University, and a masters in journalism from Penn State, he became the managing editor of Modern Screen magazine, which was the nation’s oldest movie magazine. Morano held the role of lead film critic for Modern Screen. He later served as Editor-in-Chief of ROCKbeat Magazine (Los Angeles) and Senior Editor of Inside Books Magazine (New York).

Before writing/editing for Modern Screen, Morano worked in the Security Department for CBS, which allowed him to observe world class journalists in their element. “Being a bodyguard in CBS wasn’t very journalistic but it was a neat job too because I got to see Mike Wallace, Dan Rather, and Brent Musburger. I watched people at the highest level in the profession do it and learn some things about their work ethic and professionalism,” said Morano.

Regarding The Outlook, Morano said, “Judged against our peers we have a remarkable record of winning national contests. The students take it very seriously, and they work hard. Our mantra at the paper is tell the truth and be fair.  We celebrate University successes, expose important issues, and serve as a forum to discuss diverse viewpoints.”

He believes that good journalism is vital in today’s society because the internet allows for overwhelming amounts of information, all of which may not be positive. “We need good journalists to sift through all that, tell us the truth, and not represent specific agendas that might coincide with some political ideology. We need people just to tell us what’s going on and I think traditionally and historically, we’ve turned to journalists for that. Now more than ever, when you see how people manipulate information online, we need trusted sources of news,” said Morano.

Morano believes that Monmouth is a great place to study journalism. “For my undergraduate degree at Clark University, they didn’t have a journalism program. At the school newspaper, we were all fighting to use the one typewriter. When I went to Penn State, they had everything. They had a great faculty, a daily newspaper, and all the equipment, but they also had 2,000 people trying to get on the front page of the newspaper. So they had everything, but when it came to your actual ability to use these things, there was a lot of competition to get to it,” he explained.

Morano continued, “Here we have all the benefits of a big university, but all the personal attention of a small university. There are incredible opportunities for student journalists at Monmouth University.”

As an educator, Morano has been recognized with the Distinguished Faculty Award, the Celebration of Teaching Award, and five consecutive Student Choice Awards. The professor has made a positive impact on his students. “After taking his class, I strive to be better and I know that I can always improve my craft by accepting criticism. I have also talked to him outside of class for career advice. He’s talked about his failures and about things that he came up short in and how to overcome it. I wish I would have been able to take more classes with him,” said Sam Pierce, senior communication student.

 “Professor Morano is one of the professors that you remember throughout and beyond your college career. He makes you work for your grades, which is a valuable lesson throughout life when it comes to what you want to achieve. It is a classic example of putting in what you intend to get out of something. He has a charismatic nature and will to educate, whether it be in helping his students succeed, or teaching lessons that go above and beyond the classroom,” said Logan Smet, senior communication student.

“Students learn a lot from him about writing and what they need in order to be a journalist of any kind. He has real-life experience in writing books and reviews. Because he has that experience, students can see from him what it’s like being a journalist,” said Lorna Schmidt, Director of Advising for the Communication Department.

Morano’s field experience, as well as his years in the classroom, are valuable to all his students. If you’re interested in pursuing a field in journalism, don’t hesitate to ask Morano about how you can prepare yourself better for the industry.