Greyhound Making Headlines
1992 graduate covers politics as award-winning journalist
October 15, 2013
When Bob Cusack, ’92, was studying journalism at Loyola, a Baltimore Sun reporter came in to speak to one of his classes. The reporter told the students, “Only one of you, at most, will become a journalist.”
Cusack thought to himself, “I want to be that one.”
Cusack’s early aspirations have since come true. He’s now managing editor of The Hill, a newspaper published in Washington, D.C., that focuses on Congress, business, lobbying, political campaigns, and events on Capitol Hill. He has been awarded five National Press Club and Society of Professional Journalists awards for his writing.
Originally a native of New York City, Cusack spent his free time at Loyola enjoying the camaraderie of the tennis team, playing intramural basketball and softball, and acting in a performance of Equus. Loyola is also where he met his wife, Joyce Van Meter Cusack, ’92, who was studying English.
“At Loyola I grew up as a person and learned social skills I didn’t have before,” said Cusack.
It wasn’t all fun and games. He also found himself growing as a writer. “Professors really pushed me to be better, especially in my creative writing class.”
After graduating, Cusack struggled to find a job in journalism and spent a couple years coaching tennis for Johns Hopkins University.
“Foolishly, I didn’t do internships in college. My professors told me to do them. I just didn’t listen,” Cusack recalled. “After I graduated, I had trouble finding a job. It was an incredibly frustrating two-and-a-half years. As my father was pressing me to go into sales, I decided to give it one more shot.”
Cusack saw his chance in Peter Angelos who, at the time, was the new owner of the Baltimore Orioles and a member of the Board of Trustees at Loyola. He used his Loyola connection to try to score an interview, but was met with no response from Angelos’ office.
“So I kept calling, and calling, and calling. I soon knew when his secretary left the office and when he would pick up,” Cusack said. “After 55-60 times Angelos granted me an interview in his Orioles office.”
The interview would go on to appear in The Baltimore Times and helped Cusack earn his first job at Inside Washington Publishers. More than a decade ago, he joined The Hill.
At The Hill, he manages staff, writes stories, coordinates media appearances, and makes television appearances. “I’m head of the complaint department,” Cusack said. “Members of Congress have screamed at me. At times, I have yelled back.”
Working during a government shutdown has proven difficult, but not impossible for D.C. reporters.
“Covering this fiscal battle is very challenging because much of the news happens behind closed doors,” said Cusack. “Fortunately, we have a very talented group of reporters and editors.”
Cusack still shares a special connection with Loyola, following tennis matches and keeping up with the men’s basketball team, as well as speaking with Loyola students about journalism. He had some advice for undergrads looking for career success after Loyola.
“Get an internship and make contacts. Jobs are often made through contacts,” Cusack said. “In interviews, there are three appealing qualities: be honest because you can’t fake experience, admit your mistakes, and be hard-working.”
When he’s not managing The Hill, Cusack spends his free time acting. “My first role was as a baby in a Pampers commercial. After graduating, I started taking small parts to make ends meet,” Cusack said. He’s been an extra in a number of movies including Clear and Present Danger and HBO’s Game Change. Recently, he’s gotten a speaking role on the HBO show, VEEP.
“All I can say about the role at the moment is that I don’t play a journalist or myself,” Cusack said of the part. “It was a great experience and my biggest role yet.”