Fran Kovac Headshot

A career in environmental law started with the ethical foundation learned at WOUB

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Kovac graduated from Ohio University in 1977

ATHENS, OH – In high school, Fran Kovac was the editor of her high school newspaper and took part in the High School Journalism Workshop at Ohio University. That’s when she fell in love and knew where she wanted to go to college.

“As soon as I set foot on the Ohio University campus, I knew I was going to school there,” said Kovac.

Kovac grew up in Chardon, Ohio and came to Athens in the fall of 1973. She started as a theater major. She was interested in the production and design end of theater, but Ohio University’s program was weighted more toward performance. Kovac eventually switched her major to radio and television.

“I toured WOUB at the end of my freshman year and started working as a volunteer at the station in the fall of 1974,” said Kovac.

Kovac started working in the newsroom during her sophomore year and eventually was hired into a paid position as a news editor. She worked over winter and summer breaks and got into the production side of television running camera, audio and booth announcing.

“What I took away from WOUB and my journalism classes was an understanding of how critical the ethics of journalism are. We all had to make a choice about what kind of journalist we wanted to be, what kind of person we wanted to be, and those ethics have stood me in a very good stead for my life,” said Kovac. “They involve honesty, objectivity, and the ability to look at the facts. The ethical training and the ability to think critically and analyze a situation are the most valuable skills I took away from WOUB and my journalism classes.”

When Kovac graduated in 1977, she went to work for a news agency based in the Ohio Statehouse. She covered news from the Ohio Legislature, did radio reporting and was a camera operator for television. After about a year, she moved to a summer replacement technician position at NBC 4 in Columbus, and in September of 1978, Kovac was hired at WLVQ FM in Columbus where she was the morning news anchor. But after a while, Kovac realized she didn’t feel comfortable in that job. She decided it was time for a change and went to law school.

“Law school teaches you how to analyze and solve problems,” said Kovac. “Those are useful skills regardless of what career path you pursue.”

After graduation, Kovac ended up working for the Ohio State Democratic Caucus as a legislative aide for four years. Then, she got interested in environmental law and started working for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Kovac retired in 2013.

“The fundamental ethics of journalism carry through very well with the fundamental ethics of law,” said Kovac. “I learned how to ask questions at WOUB. Those skills that I learned in Athens are really life skills. I loved the time I was there, and I’m grateful to Ohio University and WOUB for the opportunities that I had during my schooling and after I graduated.”