Ohio Journalist

Born’s Public Support

By Trevor Patton

(December 1, 2015) — The E.W. Scripps School of Journalism has produced many notable professionals in the world of news and communication, but sometimes a graduate will take another path and excel. This is the case with John Born.

Born became the director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety on August 1, 2013, a far cry from where Born saw himself 33 years ago.

An Athens native, Born graduated from high school in 1981 and came to Ohio University on a baseball scholarship.

Knowing that baseball wasn’t going to last forever, Born decided to apply to the school of journalism.

“I knew that OU’s journalism school was one of the best in the country, and if I could write and communicate well regardless of what career path I took that would be a good tool to have,” Born explained.

While on track to be drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers, Born blew out his shoulder with just a season to go at OU. With his big league prospects looking bleak, he began to search for other employment opportunities.

Born completed his BSJ in 1985 and decided to join the Ohio State Highway Patrol. After completing the rigorous training of the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy, Born worked at a radio station for about nine months and managed a weekly newspaper in Gahanna for a year while waiting for the call from the State Highway Patrol.

Eventually, the phone rang and John Born became State Trooper Born.

“I wasn’t sure how long I would serve but knew helping the public was an underlying element of any career I wanted,” Born said.

During this time, the patrol’s superintendent wanted to create a full-time position to deal with the media.

“I was the only person at the time with a bachelor’s degree in journalism,” Born said, “so I was offered the full time media relations position within the patrol.”

Less than a year after accepting the media relations job, the Lucasville prison riots broke out, putting Born in the national spotlight.

Born ended up serving in this capacity for 26 years before retiring. Less than a year after hanging up the badge, Born’s phone rang again.

It was Gov. John Kasich, asking if he would become head of the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

As the director of ODPS, Born continues serving the people of Ohio. And he’s opening doors for Scripps students to experience outside the box opportunities. “I can tell you, without that degree in journalism from Ohio University, my path would have been much different, and I probably would not be where I am at today.”

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