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Bob+Grotevant

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Bob Grotevant

Davis Corman, News Editor

On Friday, January 29, retired news reporter and state official Bob Grotevant spoke to BAHS students through a live Google Meet. Students listened in on the mysterious, laughable, and even dangerous stories of Mr. Grotevant, learning the ins and outs of his career and what it’s like pursuing a field of journalism.  

            Mr. Grotevant’s story started with an unexpected twist in college. He originally attended Penn State University in 1968, hoping to major in the field of real estate and finance. However, after a few months in the program, Mr. Grotevant realized that a future in real estate would not be a good fit for him. Through the offer of an internship at a public relations company in Pittsburgh, Mr. Grotevant obtained a newfound interest in the field of journalism, in which he graduated in during 1972.  

            Throughout the following years, Mr. Grotevant would work multiple jobs, including serving as a reporter for the Beaver County Times to a state government correspondent for the United Press International wire service and the Philadelphia Daily News. In his discussion, Mr. Grotevant recalled the numerous encounters he had, two of which involved a state government  bribery scandal and a toxic waste dumping case at a Pocono Mountains resort.  

While covering the Pennsylvania government in Harrisburg, Mr. Grotevant had the inside scoop of a bribery scandal surrounding state government officials that led to one state official’s death and numerous criminal convictions of other prominent political figures.  

“I had sources that only talked to me,” Mr. Grotevant said. 

He said he only later learned that he had been under FBI surveillance because of his contact with key sources in the case.  

Another major story involved the alleged dumping of large amounts of toxic waste underneath the grounds of a well-known Pocono ski resort. The investigation centered on allegations that the resort’s owner agreed to accept illegal toxic waste shipments in return for sufficient financing to complete a golf course he was building. The investigation ended after the owner threatened to sue the state if any digging on his land failed to uncover evidence.  

“I had sources that only talked to myself, giving me more information than most,” he said. 

            Eventually, throughout his long line of work, Mr. Grotevant obtained the prestigious opportunity of Press Secretary and Deputy Communications Director for Governor Robert P. Casey Sr. in 1987. In his work with the former governor, Mr. Grotevant enlightened the students on a sentimental encounter he had with Governor-elect Casey and his family on election night, which was Casey’s fourth try the office – and the election was coming down to the wire. Mr. Grotevant had not been offered any position yet, but went to the governor’s house where he arrived just in time for the announcement of Casey’s victory. Mr. Grotevant was invited upstairs to the Governor-elect’s room, who was picking out a tie to wear for his victory speech. 

“I was overwhelmed by the thought of just being there amongst those people,” he said. 

            Along with the many stories, Mr. Grotevant gave valuable advice to the journalists in attendance in regards to what it takes to become successful within the field. 

“Anyone must have a healthy ambition; a willingness to ‘get one’s hands dirty’ by accepting a wide array of assignments and challenges, as well as a desire to do as honest and thorough a job as possible.”  

As the meeting was coming to an end, Mr. Grotevant made it a point to mention to all the of students the issues regarding journalism and America as a whole.  

“There’s a problem in this world of people not agreeing on what reality is, or what facts are. Our country is founded on honest and open discussion. If people can’t agree on the facts, there are going to be problems.” 

In the end – whether one was a journalism student or a part of an AP Government class – Mr. Grotevant’s interesting stories will stick with the students of BAHS.