The "Inside Scoop" on Cleveland's premier
Everybody loves to get the inside "scoop" and it's the job of an investigative reporter to provide just that. For years, Cleveland's premier investigative reporter was Paul Sciria.
Before Geraldo or Carl Monday, there was Paul Sciria, but now, the tables have been turned on him and this time, he's answering the questions and giving us the inside story on the life of Paul Sciria.
Paul graduated from Ohio State University in 1950 with a BA in Political Science. He had an uncle teaching at OSU and there was never really an option for Paul. From the beginning his uncle told him, "You're going to college. You're going to Ohio State. End of discussion."
His days on the corner of 154th and Kinsman would prove valuable to him later in life as he combined his college education and his "street smarts" to make him the effective investigator he would become.
Of course, Paul thought he'd have it made with an uncle teaching at his school. "I'm not coming to class" he told his uncle, "but I need an "A". His uncle replied calmly "From me, you'll get an "F" - better transfer classes".
His uncle made him see that most of his friends weren't lucky enough to go to college so it was important that he take advantage of his opportunity and learn all he could. He did and he went to each and every one of them. His uncle went on to teach in the Euclid School System for over thirty ears.
His intention was to go to law school, but then Uncle Sam called him. Korea was claiming a lot of young men at this time and his number finally came up. However, his sight was not what it should be, and he received a 4F classification.
So, it was back to school for him, this time at Cleveland Marshall. In about his third year, Paul started doing some Public Relations work for the Recreation Department of the City of Cleveland. He was working on writing a brochure about swimming pools in Cleveland.
He was meeting with John Nagy, Recreation Commissioner when Mr. Nagy received a phone call from Tom Manning at WTAM radio. His sportswriter had quit without notice and he was in a bind. John Nagy sent Paul right over and as Paul says, his life changed forever.
It was a part time job, but he loved it. He was writing for local celebrities like Bob Neal, Jim Graner and Tom Manning. Then, another big break came his way. There was an opening in the news department - a full time job - in news not sports. Paul quit law school and took the job.
He worked at WTAM for a while and then went to WJW and FM105. It wasn't long before he moved to television. WKYC was his new home. They bought him a brand new car with his name and station call letters and he was ready to go.
TV3 recognized his combination college education and street-wise knowledge and hired him as a Street/Investigative reporter. He was on call 24 hours a day.
He remembers one night watching a movie at the Shaker Theater. Big letters came across the screen "Paul Sciria, call your office". He was sent immediately to Toledo where the California Poli-Sci. Football team suffered a plane crash and the entire team died. Paul was first on the scene.
He's interviewed such names as Bobby Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Hoffa and even The Beatles. Not to mention Bob Hope, Olson and Johnson (from Hills A Poppin') Jim Brown, Gary Collins, Blanton Collier and Dick Schafrath.
He got scolded by Paul Brown because he was the only one who knew Milt Plumb got the flu back in 1962. But Paul respected what was on and off the record and never reported the story.
He gets irritated at today's reporters asking the easy questions. "They're so worried about offending somebody and not being allowed in a locker room or a press conference. You need to earn their respect, not just kiss their butt".
Of course in his day, he couldn't have said "butt" or "hell" either for that matter. Now, he's still amazed at the language he hears from news and sportscasters alike. "They shouldn't be personalities," he complains "You're not supposed to know how they feel about something, just what the facts are."
He remembers introducing Virgil Dominic around town. The news at that time was: Virgil Dominic, Jim Ruppert, Paul Sciria, Jim Graner and of course, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley.
He always loved Dorothy Fuldheim and had the deepest respect for her. He remembers his interview with Jimmy Hoffa who told him "You can put this on the record. I hate the Kennedy's".
Ringo Starr said "hi" to Paul's daughter on a tape recorder during an interview once. He had a private interview in an elevator with Richard Nixon and was given an exclusive on the newspaper strike when the Cleveland Press shut down.
Of course, he's quick to admit he made a mistake or two. Like the time he thought he'd help the Cleveland homicide police when he was sure he found the murder weapon. It was a heavy metal bar hidden in the grass by Baldwin Reservoir on Fairhill Road. He ran up to the police, proud as could be. Turned out, however, the victim had been shot.
It was 1957 when he joined the news department and he stayed in "the business" until 1975 when TV3 didn't renew his contract. He learned quickly that nobody is indispensable. But instead of feeling dejected or depressed he was inspired. The morning Plain Dealer headline read "TV3 dumps Paul Sciria" and he knew he had to fight back.
He instantly started his own Public Relations firm, which is successful to this day. He was terminated on a Friday; by Monday morning he had clients. His very first client, to whom he is forever grateful, was Sam Lucarelli from Minute Men. "I don't forget people. They help me. I remember. I always remember"
For six years Paul did PR work for Don King, promoting people such as Mike Tyson and Larry Holmes.
In 1991, in addition to his PR work Paul's life took yet another turn. A woman came to him with an idea for an Italian American newspaper. She wasn't Italian, but thought there was a market for it.
She wanted Paul's help, but unless he could run it, he wasn't interested. And the plan died. A few short months later the woman passed away and Paul and a friend decided to run with the idea.
They created La Gazetta in May, 1992. It now has a circulation of over 10,000 and is distributed all over northeast Ohio. Subscribers all over the country receive this forty-page tabloid filled with articles on people, food, vocabulary and a section of nostalgia called "Recordo" (Remember).
Paul was born in Cleveland, November 3, 1928. He is married to Francesca, a graduate of Western Reserve University. They have five children and nine grandchildren, ranging in age from seven to twenty-one. He tries to teach them all the same basic lessons. "Don't shoot from the hip. Engage your brain before your mouth"
Paul doesn't regret one single day. "What they don't know is, I would've done it for free". He loves the experiences, the stories and the memories. And he's provided all of us with some wonderful memories too. Profiled by Debbie Hanson
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