Syracuse University Magazine

Jason Jedinski

Jason Jedlinski '99

21st-Century Storytelling

Jason Jedlinski vividly remembers the sunny afternoon in 1995 when he met new classmates who had been editors of high school newspapers and campus TV stations. He knew right away they shared his enthusiasm for journalism and he could learn from them. “I was excited to see a lot of passionate students all gathered in Newhouse,” he recalls. “I really felt I made the right choice for the upcoming four years.” 

Along with the memory of his first day as a first-year student, the Chicago native had what he calls “wonderful times” at the University. He majored in broadcast journalism at Newhouse and obtained hands-on experience of storytelling on various platforms. “Newhouse taught me technology will change,” says Jedlinski, now the vice president of digital products and platforms at Tribune Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Tribune Company in Chicago. “But the way you tell a story and the value of original reporting endures.” He complemented his journalism skills by taking courses in policy studies at the Maxwell School. With lessons learned in class and an internship at Syracuse’s WSTM-TV, Jedlinski landed a job at WGN-TV in Chicago as a part-time overnight newswriter immediately after graduation. 

Glad to be back in the city he is proud to call home, Jedlinski started his workdays at 2 a.m., observed others in the newsroom, and kept volunteering for assignments. “Hey, give me a shot, let me try it,” he’d say. Within two years, he was promoted from the assignment desk to producer of the station’s investigative unit. Four years later, Jedlinski accepted a position at Fox Chicago News as a special projects producer. In the meantime, he volunteered for the Chicago Headline Club, the largest chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and became its president in 2006. Ready for the next challenge, he joined Tribune Interactive that year, managing content for the TV station’s web sites. “That was a kind of turning point for me,” he says. “It allowed me to learn a lot of things, especially about the business of journalism I hadn’t been exposed to before.” When describing his current work, Jedlinski becomes excited, explaining exhaustively how the emergence of technologies is reshaping the way TV stations distribute content and how they will use that opportunity to share information with unlimited audiences. “It’s no longer about one channel, one time,” he says. “It’s about getting content anywhere people want to see it. We have a lot of opportunities, a lot of potential in that space.”

Along with his professional endeavors, Jedlinski dedicates himself to giving back to the SU community. As a member of the SU Alumni Association Board of Directors, the Newhouse Network Board of Directors, and the University’s Chicago Regional Council, he describes himself as a “catalyst” who helps alumni reconnect with SU. He enjoys returning to campus, speaking with students and offering them advice. “I love hearing their concerns,” Jedlinski says. “It’s always a great opportunity to reassure them. The outlook is not as gloomy as they may read sometimes. There are a lot of exciting innovations and opportunities to do creative, groundbreaking work.” 

When asked what he expects for the media in the future, Jedlinski chuckles. “More change,” he says. “What keeps me interested and excited every morning is knowing there will be new technologies, new things continuing to arrive. I expect information is going to be more and more accessible and there will continue to be important roles for journalists to play.” —Yuhan Xu