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Bruce Babiarz | Founder of BAB PR

Bruce Babiarz has been writing professionally since he was in college. His first professional writing assignment was for the Lou Gordon Program, a nationally syndicated talk show in Detroit that was a pre-cursor to today’s news-talk format. Babiarz performed an analysis of the content of local TV newscasts and researched questions for guests. Babiarz also assisted Mr. Gordon in writing his weekly column for The Detroit News.

Babiarz was a student journalist for the State News, student newspaper at Michigan State University and eventually managed a staff of 22 reporters with a newspaper budget of more than $1 million. He earned free-lance jobs with the Associated Press, United Press International and other media before winning a paid internship as a full-time Detroit News staff writer while a senior in college. Babiarz covered the 1980 GOP convention in Detroit, The Michigan House of Representative, and the Governor’s Office including Gov. William G. Milliken and Gov. James J. Blanchard. Between the Detroit News and State News, Babiarz had interviewed two U.S. Presidents (Nixon and Ford), numerous world celebrities including Timothy Leary, Brooke Shields, Christy Brinkley.

Babiarz earned numerous Page One bylines in The Detroit News and broke several national stories while an intern including the case of two children who survived a house fire that killed their parents and three siblings. Babiarz was the first journalist to learn and report the orphans had been abused children who deliberately had set the fire in a cry for help from years of abuse.

With a newly minted degree in Journalism and Political Science, Babiarz went to work as a reporter and editor for the international news service, United Press International in Detroit. UPI’s famed alumni include Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, David Halberstam, Helen Thomas, and a host of distinguished journalists.

Babiarz began working for UPI full-time in Detroit covering routine news but focusing on national business stories in addition to supporting automotive coverage from the bureau. With a nose for news, great sources and hustle, Babiarz broke several major news stories and earned bylines in every major daily newspaper in America by the time he was in his mid-20s. His stories were also routinely printed in newspapers around the world in dozens of foreign languages with only the byline: “By Bruce Babiarz, United Press International” printed in English.

Top stories Babiarz was involved with at UPI included coverage of the First Detroit Grand Prix (1982), death of Henry Ford II, arrest of John DeLorean on drug charges in Los Angeles, Interview with Mattie Jones, wife of only black hostage held for nearly a year in Iran and release on January 20, 1982 when President Ronald Reagan was inaugurated, Papal Visit to Detroit, Royal Visit to Windsor by the Queen of England, Buhl Building murders and arson, Prison riots at three Michigan prisons in the same day. The 1984 Detroit Tigers World Series and rioting that followed. The Vista Sludge Controversy, Coleman Young Administration and growth of Drug gangs (White Boy Rick and Young Boys Inc.) rounded out major stories in Detroit in the 1980s as well as the seizing of a neighborhood by the city to build an automotive assembly plant displacing an entire Polish neighborhood known as Poletown.

Babiarz quickly moved up the ranks from reporter to editor to Regional Executive for UPI in Detroit. His territory was expanded to cover nine Midwestern states and he was promoted to Regional Executive and Bureau Chief for UPI based in Chicago. Babiarz helped UPI secure contracts with 36 of Michigan’s 51 daily newspapers at the time and helped the organization sell its news service to corporations such as Quaker Oats, United Airlines, Chrysler Corporation and a host of companies and organizations that used its customized capabilities for media relations and marketing and lifestyle trends across America. The creative move to sell the service outside of traditional media helped the Midwest Region grow from $11 million to $18 million in annual revenue in two years. Global losses by the news organization quickly overshadowed the success and UPI went into bankruptcy. Babiarz seized the opportunity to experiment with broadcast journalism and won a job with WXYZ-TV (ABC in Detroit) as a writer and producer for the news programs and colorful veteran anchor Bill Bonds. Babiarz was in the news studio control room when Bonds, live on air with Mayor Coleman Young, challenged the mayor to a fistfight.

Babiarz loved the immediacy of TV news but did not like the idea of telling complex stories in one minute and 20 seconds or less. Babiarz was the station’s first producer of the 30-minute weekly sports program “Sunday Sports Update” which aired on Sundays after the 11 p.m. news in competition with another station that was first with the format.

In just two years, Babiarz was recruited back to UPI when the firm emerged from Bankruptcy and was bought by new owners. He ran the editorial, sales and management of the Midwest operations through 1991 when new financial difficulties engulfed the venerable wire service and the consolidation and corporate ownership of media had all but driven out “family-owned” newspapers that were the hallmark of American journalism for more than 200 years. In 1991 Babiarz hung up his credentials as a journalist and opened BAB Associates, LLC Public Relations and Marketing.