Deborah Pacyna Headshot

California PR Expert Deborah Pacyna learned vital skills at WOUB

Posted on:

< < Back to

Pacyna graduated from Ohio University in 1976

ATHENS, OH – Deborah Pacyna has been the director of public affairs for the California Association of Health Facilities for 12 years. And even though she is not working in journalism anymore, Pacyna says it was the skills that she learned working as a student at WOUB that allowed her to move into this role.

“It all goes back to the WOUB newsroom,” said Pacyna. “You can test things there and try different things out. I learned how to write and clearly communicate ideas and concepts. You can take those skills into any profession.”

Pacyna was born near Cleveland but grew up in Pittsburgh. In high school, she had an interest in writing and became the editor of her school newspaper but caught the broadcast bug after taking a class at a local community college.

“At the time, there weren’t that many women in broadcasting,” said Pacyna. “Point Park Community College invited every editor-in-chief of their high school newspaper to take a class on broadcasting. I was praised in the class for my broadcast writing skills, and I thought if broadcast writing came that easy to me than I should pursue it.”

Pacyna chose Ohio University for college because of the opportunities available for hands-on training and the school’s reputation as the place to go for communications.

“WOUB was the main reason I chose it,” said Pacyna. “I knew that the chance to work in a professional newsroom would be a tremendously valuable experience.”

During her freshman year, Pacyna started working at WOUB. She took every opportunity that was available to her.

“There were always shifts available on Friday nights or early in the mornings. One Friday night, I had a very humbling experience. I was doing a live newscast and reading stories written by other students. There was one story about a car accident. It said that there was ‘debris’ on the road. I read it as ‘Deb-riss.’ I instantly knew I made a mistake, but I thought nobody was listening on a Friday night,” said Pacyna laughing. “Then when I came into the newsroom on Monday, one of the professional staffers said, ‘Good morning, Deb-riss!’ and that nickname stuck for the rest of my time in school.”

After she graduated in 1976, Pacyna worked as a radio and TV journalist in places like Columbus, Dayton, Ohio, Pittsburgh and Sacramento, California before moving into public relations work. She was the communications director for then-California Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante for two years and then moved on to a public relations firm where she assisted Fortune 500 and locally based companies with a variety of communication needs. In 2009, she started working for the California Association of Health Facilities.

“I’ve really enjoyed all aspects of my career,” said Pacyna. “WOUB was where it started. I loved the newsroom experience at WOUB. That newsroom is a gift to any student who is serious about a career in broadcasting.”