I met Tallackson in Spring 1992, when he attended a job fair at DePauw University, where, as editorial director for Nixon Newspapers Inc., I was recruiting people. I sensed Tallackson had the goods. I gave him a solid recommendation to the NNI editors.
When an opening for a reporter at the Peru Tribune occurred in the summer, I told Managing Editor Alan Blanchard I would call Tallackson to see if he was still available.
I didn’t expect him to be. But he was, working part-time in a law office two blocks from his parents’ home in the Miller Beach area of Gary. We scheduled an interview.
The Tribune wound up hiring a guy loaded with ability and a semi-sardonic, semi-neurotic, tonic personality that draws people to him.
“It ended up being the best experience you could ask for,” Tallackson says about his Peru years. “Learned how to be a reporter in the best sense of the word by getting out in the field, meeting people and learning to ask the right questions. I covered everything from county government to police to the Peru School Board.
“What made it an amazing experience is that you can make mistakes in a small town and be forgiven for them, not only by your employers, but by the community. You learn and you grow from your mistakes. Peru, without question, was a nurturing environment to start my journey as a journalist.”
The journey’s seeds were sown 43 years ago, when Andrew Peter Tallackson was born in Chicago to Stephen Tallackson, then working for Amtrack, investigating employment complaints, now retired and a part-time teacher at two Purdue satellite campuses; and Judith Tallackson, now retired after teaching elementary school in Chicago schools for more than 34 years. A brother, Erik Michael, came along four years later and is now a freelance photographer.