I was working for political campaigns my senior year in college when I decided the reporters covering us had pretty interesting jobs. I've been a journalist for more than 30 years, a profession that's taken me to war zones, natural disasters, governor's mansions, mobsters' living rooms and gang members' funerals. I've been at the Chicago Sun-Times for most of those years, documenting the violence that grips swaths of the city and leaves other parts relatively untouched. In recent years, I've also been a teacher at Loyola University, trying to pass along some of my experiences to younger generations of journalists. Some of them have gone on to have careers in journalism, too, and they leave me confident in the future of the profession.