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40th anniversary present

Former Cambria County teen columnist gives
Blacklick Valley a 'home' on the Internet

September 25, 1997

A Blacklick Valley native now living in California’s Silicon Valley has given his home area the gift of a home page on the Internet to mark the 40th anniversary of his journalism career, begun as teen columnist for the weekly Nanty Glo Journal and its sister publications, the Portage Dispatch and Cresson-Gallitzin Mainliner. Jon Kennedy began writing the column when he was a sophomore at the former Blacklick Township High School in Twin Rocks in September 1957. Hired by the Nanty Glo Journal’s second editor, Andrew P. Rogalski, who became his mentor, his column became the most widely read feature of the three weekly papers for the five years that it ran.

Nanty Glo Journal editor Andrew P. Rogalski, left, interviews Blacklick Township High School Principal Elmer Smith, right, at the Big Bend School auditorium in 1959.

Nanty Glo Journal editor Andrew P. Rogalski, left, interviews Blacklick Township High School Principal Elmer Smith, right, at the Big Bend School auditorium in 1959.

Photo by Jon Kennedy

Kennedy, now a publisher of electronic newspapers and writer of knowledge bases for the Internet, said he knew he wanted his career to be in journalism from the beginning of his association with Rogalski, who tutored him in the craft from the start. "I had written Blacklick Valley news items for the Ebensburg Mountaineer-Herald for three years before doing the teen column," Kennedy said, "but it was undisciplined, with little educational value. Rogalski used to lecture me every time I delivered a column, going over what I was doing wrong and wasn’t doing right. I realized he had no obligation to do this and it was a great gift. He also loaned me a college journalism text he had used, which I read cover to cover and now realize that’s probably more than most of the students who bought it could say."

Kennedy majored in English writing because there was no journalism major at the time at what was then Johnstown College of the University of Pittsburgh. He later took a master of arts in journalism at the University of California in Los Angeles, but says no one else ever taught him as much journalism as Andy Rogalski. Rogalski gave him another gift by promoting him with the publishers to take over his job when Rogalski left the Journal in 1962. Hired to "fill in" until Rogalski’s replacement could be found, Kennedy soon was named as the paper’s third editor and also feature editor of the three-newspaper group.

His "gift" to the Blacklick Valley, its own "home page" on the Internet’s worldwide web, is a collection of files including reminiscences; resources; information like demographic data; links to related worldwide web sites such as one for Nantyglo, Wales; photographs, and "anything anyone wants to put there that’s related to Blacklick Valley and appropriate for readers of all ages," he said. Though located physically on a computer in Sunnyvale, Calif., the "Nanty Glo Home Page" is accessible freely to anyone the world over with Internet access. It is in a Nanty Glo subdirectory of Silicon Valley Today, an Internet newspaper that Kennedy owns and has published for the past year. Anyone with Internet access can mail letters and files for posting on the "page," Kennedy said. The Nanty Glo Home Page address on the Internet is http://www.nantyglo.com/. The email address is webmaster@nantyglo.com.

Leaving his Nanty Glo Journal post in 1964 to become managing editor of a New Jersey-based religious newspaper with worldwide circulation, Kennedy moved to California to start an evangelical publishing-based ministry to college students, settling at Stanford University near San Jose in 1972 after completing his graduate schooling at UCLA. He is the author of books on journalism, youth, the movies, and religion, has edited numerous magazines and newspapers, and has taught courses and workshops at half a dozen colleges, including Stanford University. He left the ministry when his marriage dissolved in 1982 and recently converted to Eastern Orthodoxy. His latest book, Evangelicalism and Orthodoxy, is now with a publisher awaiting publication.

"One of my aims with the Nanty Glo Home Page is to make it available to anyone with ties to Nanty Glo and Blacklick Valley," Kennedy said. "As long as we’re able, we’ll provide anyone who can establish such ties free space for a personal home page or resume, and of course we’ll gladly link any existing home pages of persons with Blacklick Valley ties."

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