John Dudley is a senior reporter and sports columnist for the Erie Times-News. He also writes a monthly Lifestyle column. Recently he has written several editorials to help bridge the gap between the retirement of an editorial writer and the hiring of his replacement. Dudley is married with three kids (a college student, a high school senior, and a high school sophomore). His family lives in Millcreek with two yellow labs named Juno and Moose.
Growing up, everything revolved around sports and academics for Dudley. He participated in football, baseball, and wrestling in high school. Then, he continued his wrestling career in college for a short time. Once his athletic career ended, Dudley remained in the sports world through his profession. Aside from that, his family did a fair amount of overseas travel, which inspired his passion for exploring new places. Even today, Dudley and his wife travel often with their children.
He became involved in coaching his two sons in football and baseball when they were younger. Although they’ve both wrapped up their high school careers, he continues to coach middle school football, which is something he dearly enjoys and is a great way to help develop young athletes while satisfying his competitive juices.
Dudley first became interested in journalism during high school. The editor of a local weekly newspaper, on the recommendation of his English teacher, approached him about writing stories about their sports teams. As a three-sport athlete, he would often be writing about games or wrestling matches he had been involved in. It was a little awkward at times, but it helped him develop a love for the craft.
Dudley will have been a professional journalist for 20 years in June. He likes to discuss the NFL and the Erie BayHawks, so writing about those topics consume a good deal of his time. “Covering the NFL has provided me with some of my most memorable professional opportunities,” Dudley said. He has been to three Super Bowls, numerous playoff games and approximately 300 regular season NFL games. He enjoys hearing from the passionate, strongly opinionated NFL fans, and often talks football with fans that he runs into at the gym or the grocery store.
Dudley also writes four columns per week on a variety of newsworthy topics. A day of work in his shoes is not always a routine. No two days are ever the same, which keeps his job fresh. During a typical week in the fall, he will cover a high school game on Friday night, a college game on Saturday afternoon, and then travel to Cleveland, Buffalo or Pittsburgh on Sunday to cover an NFL game. In between, he writes columns or feature stories on an athlete or coach or an enterprise piece about a trend or an issue. On top of the stuff that the Erie Times-News can anticipate or plan, there’s always breaking news that needs to be covered, and it’s impossible to predict when that will happen and how much time it will consume.
When asked if he would you change anything about the Erie Times News or his job, he said, “I think I speak for pretty much all journalists when I say I would love to have more space to write.”