When it was time to choose a college, he came to an open house at RMU and met Andrea Frantz, who was then the head of the Department of Communication, who sold him on Robert Morris.
“Dr. Frantz was just electric and was immediately passionate about all of us,” says Klocko. “She got us all so excited about both the RMU program and what journalism was all about”
As an undergraduate, Klocko ran for president of the Society of Collegiate Journalists (SCJ) in an attempt to revive the organization and expand its programs. Under his leadership the club hosted the Festival of Five Freedoms, an event that celebrated the 1st Amendment, and sent students to New York City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Chicago for professional conferences.
His proudest achievement with SCJ was recruiting WPXI News Director Mike Oliveira and WPXI Reporter Jennifer Tomazic to campus. The two spent time talking about the industry and reviewing resume reels for students hoping to get a job in TV. Klocko says it was a beneficial session for students hoping to get into the industry as it allowed them to pick the brain of a major market news director and establish great connections.
For a communication seminar class, Klocko had to work on a semester long project that required a full marketing and communications campaign. Through SCJ he and his team members hosted the annual Balancing Out Hunger project, an effort that would allow students with leftover meal plan money to donate the funds to the Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
During his junior year Klocko shifted gears and began working in radio, thinking that’s what he had his heart set on. Carrie Moniot, SCJ co-advisor, encouraged him to branch out and apply for an internship with WPXI-TV. Klocko was one of only eight students asked to intern with Channel 11 in a pool of over 200 applicants. He thrived so quickly during his internship that he was brought on as a part-time assignment editor and soon after that, a full-time employee.
Klocko now works as the social media assignment editor, a position they created just for him, using social media to generate news content for both television and digital platforms. In the afternoon, he shifts gears and helps prepare the evening newscast by generating content and developing coverage plans.
“John achieved and surpassed everything I expected of him,” says Moniot. “He is a dynamic leader and it makes me proud to see students like him achieve their goals. I’m glad he’s successful in a career that he loves.”
Although his time at RMU as a student has passed, Klocko stays engaged with the university by returning to campus to speak to undergraduates about the news industry. He networks with students and answers the same types of questions he was asking Oliveira and Tomazic just a few years prior.
“Coming back to campus to speak to students really excites me,” he says. “I was one of those students and someone took the time to help me get to this point and I want to do the same.”