Alumni profile: John Linahan '75
Experience with Varsity News and Tower yearbook help him at ABC television
John Linahan, '75, currently executive director, presentations, ABC Television Network, brings much of his experience as a student to his workplace in New York.
While instrumental in advancing both the Varsity News and the Tower yearbook, Linahan was a popular campus photographer who also found time for a double major in design in media and journalism. He now designs and produces laptop and multimedia presentations, web graphics and outdoor signage for ABC—using just a few of the talents he first honed at University of Detroit.
"Being a photographer is a great entree into graphic design – your eyes are trained to look for the most interesting and striking layout." Linahan recalls, "I really enjoyed having total access at sports, concerts and theatre events on campus, crawling around behind the scenes. I also got to meet a wide range of students, groups and teachers shooting coverage for the publications." One memory stands out, however. " My photog friend Paul Frenchi '72, and I climbed to the very top of the clock tower, the lightning rods, to photograph the tremendous views of campus from up there," Linahan says. "Not recommended!"
After graduation, he moved to New York and in his words, "learned the graphic art business the New York way." One of his clients, who eventually mentored Linahan through his career, worked in network television. Linahan says, " I jumped when offered a position at ABC in 1998."
Over the years, his UDM education has proven invaluable. "In particular, my experience with the VN and yearbook schooled me in observing and directing people, and meeting deadlines—critical skills in doing graphics, and in the corporate world," Linahan says. "On top of that, my general education there (philosophy and journalism) gives me an edge I use every day–in analysis, logic, and writing skills. I'm constantly astounded by people in business who can't write."
Outside of ABC, Linahan still finds time to indulge another passion—music. "Although I have no formal music education, I began singing with my church choir, and soon joined the Oratorio Society of New York, NY's second oldest cultural organization," Linahan says. "I really enjoy singing in the chorus at Carnegie Hall; I serve on the Society's Board of Directors and manage all of our publicity and promotion." Though a New Yorker now, Detroit is still in his blood. Linahan confesses, "I became a Mets fan, but I still follow the Tigers."