Jack Colwell · 2000
This year marks the 31st year of Jack Colwell’s weekly political column in the South Bend Tribune and the 39th year of his distinguished career as a journalist.
The writing career of the man who “raised political writing from a craft to an art” began in Colwell’s home town of Ottawa, Illinois. A high school teacher inspired him to go into the field of journalism, and after earning his degree at the University of Illinois, he began work at the Champaign-Urbana Courier.
His next position was with the United States Army, where he served as editor for the Fifth Army newspaper. While still a soldier, Jack Colwell applied for an opening in the reporting staff at the South Bend Tribune. As a night police reporter, Jack demonstrated early on his abilities as a writer. It did not take long for him to drop his “rookie” status and tackle some of the bigger stories of the police beat.
In 1964 after a stint in Dayton, Ohio an opening for a political reporter drew him back to the Tribune, and he has written politics ever since. In the past four decades, Colwell has covered every major politician in the state, 17 Democratic and Republican national conventions, and many national leaders. It is not the length of his career or the caliber of the people about whom he writes that distinguish Jack Colwell from other prominent journalists in the state. Throughout the duration of Colwell’s career, he has embodied all that a political columnist should be.
Colwell’s political columns are lucid and interesting, and the subject matter is reported accurately and without bias. The quality of his writing and his strict adherence to the principles of journalistic integrity have earned Colwell the respect of his colleagues as well as the politicians he writes about-politicians from all sides of the political spectrum.
His modesty, humor, and approachable personality have earned him the friendship of many among them.
“Jack Colwell is the greatest single journalist in the history of the community and the newspaper. He made us all look good. He still does,” stated Jack Powers, former managing editor of the South Bend Tribune. Surely many of his other colleagues would agree.