Diederich College of Communication Recipients
Young Alumnus of the Year Award
JASON R. DERUSHA, COMM '97
Maple Grove, Minn.
When tragedy struck Minneapolis in 2007 and the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River, Jason DeRusha was the first television reporter on air covering the event. But his job is much more than reporting on tragedies.
“I’ve covered average, daily stories, and I’ve covered once-in-a-lifetime stories,” he says. “I love knowing my work makes people smarter, makes people laugh and makes people care more about their communities.”
An Emmy-award winning TV news reporter, Jason is responsible for WCCO’s highly rated “Good Question” segment on the nightly 10 p.m. newscast. In September 2011, he was promoted to weekend news anchor.
Jason has received national attention for his Facebook and Twitter newsgathering techniques and is a fill-in radio host on WCCO-AM and restaurant critic for Minnesota Monthly magazine. Currently in the works is DeRusha Eats, a series of television stories on Minneapolis’s local food scene. DeRusha Eats is also Jason’s Twitter handle for his food and magazine food column and his weekly blog.
Speaking of social media, as a result of a viral campaign by viewers and online fans, the mayor declared Sept. 21, 2009, “Jason DeRusha Day.”
It’s all in good fun, and Jason says: “I’m proud I have the ability to use my undeserved ‘celebrity’ to assist charities. I spend at least two nights a month volunteering as an emcee or auctioneer.”
Fun facts about Jason:
Hometown: Des Plaines, Ill.
Favorite book and quote: The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
“We don’t take ourselves seriously — we take the news seriously” Roger Ailes, president of the Fox News Channel
Someone alive or dead he’d like to have dinner with: Peter Jennings
The Marquette faculty member who had an impact on Jason: Ken Ksobiech
Favorite Marquette memory: He remembers a day it was raining heavily on Wisconsin Avenue, so he and a bunch of his friends thought it would be funny to break into MUTV programming with a weather alert. “This was pretty novel stuff back in 2005, the first year we were broadcasting into dorm rooms at Marquette.” He remembers doing live election coverage from the AMU for the MUSG student elections. That was a big deal, too, having the entire show live on location.
In grade school, Jason wanted to be a game show host, radio talk show host or journalist.
Most influential person in Jason’s life: His wife