If coming from a well-rounded background with a broad understanding of many issues that impact our complex world prepares journalists for the challenges of the news world, then LU graduate Julio Gomes is a perfect fit for his new position as managing editor of the Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal.
Julio, who graduated from Lakehead University in 1986 with an HBA in English, is the quintessential newsman - a modern Renaissance Man with varied interests and passions, which range from literature and philosophy to the people's arena of sports, a field where his name is recognized as both a sports reporter and player.
path to the top chair at Thunder Bay's
daily newspaper actually began on the other side of the world, a long way from the chilly shores of Lake Superior.
Born on August 31st, 1962 in Outeiro da Fonte in central Portugal, Julio's youthful appearance belies his
chronological age of 45.
arrived in Canada when he
was seven-years-old, with his
mother and sister, to join his
father who was working in the bush.
The family disembarked in mid-December of 1969, less than ideal timing for the young Julio
who found himself thrust into a brand new world in more ways than one.
"I had never seen snow, had never known this type of cold and had never heard a world of English spoken," he
But, as children are wont to do, he
adapted quickly to this strange new land.
Julio's family initially settled in the Old World enclave of Banning Street and he began his education at St. Joseph's School, where he started Grade One with a significant language barrier.
didn't remain limited for very long, and by the time he
reached Grade 3 he
was advanced to Grade 4 and had fully recaptured the academic promise he
exhibited while attending school in Portugal.
would go on to graduate from Hammarskjöld High School
and make a career choice that was consistent with the early talent that he
demonstrated in writing and communications.
tells me that as a youngster he
read a lot and recollects being quite a science fiction fan in those days.
imagination already stimulated, he
had a natural creative flare, which was quickly detected by his
teachers who encouraged him in his
Therefore, it was no surprise that Julio elected to pursue a degree in journalism, and he completed his first year at Carleton University in Ottawa.
"It was a good experience," he
reflects, but readily admits that he
was homesick and missing his
close-knit family and network of good friends in Thunder Bay
So, with no regrets, he
made the decision to return home and enroll in the Arts program as an English major at Lakehead University
experience at LU as a decidedly positive one.
Not only was he
able to walk to school, but the smaller class sizes provided a more intimate atmosphere, which not only facilitated students getting to know their professors, but professors knowing many of their students on a personal level.
also feels that the general arts background he
received, with exposure to Literature, History, Political Science and Philosophy, was the perfect training ground for the multifaceted news business that would eventually become his
Ironically, he also received his first formal introduction to the wild and wonderful world of student journalism while at LU when he joined the staff of the student newspaper.
wasn't reading or writing, he
was engaging in his
other passion -- sports, either as a spectator or player, all the while building up considerable knowledge and acumen in this broad-reaching field.
While in his fourth year, he became the official "sports reporter" for the Argus, which included writing articles and columns and an eventual stint as the sports editor.
remains especially appreciative of the opportunity to gain practical experience as a journalist while still a student, helping him to further define his
career goals and find his
But, when graduation day arrived in 1986, Julio
found himself with "no immediate door to cross through" and his
first full-time working experience was back at CN Rail as a labourer where he
had earned his
tuition money in previous summers.
When the first full-time writing position surfaced in the form of a sports writer at the local biweekly newspaper, Lakehead Living
was anxious to return to the field of communications.
was the successful candidate and recalls that first transition from a well-paying labourer job to an entry-level reporter.
"The pay was abysmal," he
was doing what he
loved and he
was good at it.
He remained with LL for three years before joining the Times-News in 1989, once again as sports reporter.
career with the paper now known as the Chronicle-Journal would bring him more than a few memorable moments and exciting opportunities to work and interact with people who were well-known and established in the field.
worked with local legends in the sports field such as Pentti Lund and Bill Guy.
When the two daily papers amalgamated in 1996, Julio
had a small but critical role in a piece of local history when he
laid out the last front page of the Chronicle-Journal as an afternoon paper.
The newly minted Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal
was a fertile learning ground for the ambitious young reporter and Julio
was now reporting on a variety of topics beyond the sports arena.
found himself covering everything from education and municipal affairs to the court and police beat, an area that he
enjoyed and found particularly intriguing.
In conducting investigations and doing the inevitable "digging" that is a reporter's mission, Julio feels that it was particularly helpful to be a local boy with lots of contacts.
courteous and affable manner no doubt played a role in his
ability to connect with and engage people to ultimately get to the root of the story.
has remained with the paper since first climbing on board in 1989.
skills and savvy were recognized when he
took over, albeit on a temporary basis, as news editor in 1995.
In January of this year, he was appointed to the position of managing editor, a management position which he says will allow him to draw upon all of his varied interests to make improvements to the paper and more connect it to the community it serves.
With the Renaissance Man at the drawing board, readers can definitely look forward to some stimulating changes in Thunder Bay's steadfast daily paper.
But life is not all about work and this family man relaxes by reading, listening to music (classic rock is a favourite) and playing soccer and, most recently, golf.
Proving that the ability to turn a word is somewhat hereditary, Julio
is especially proud of his
seventeen-year-old son, Justin, who is already showing promise as a budding columnist and writer.
When asked for a quote that reflects his personal philosophy, Julio
doesn't hesitate and turns to the esteemed philosopher Frederick Nietzsche for these words of wisdom: "I want, once and for all, not to know many things.