International journalist Frank Csongos spoke at Concordia on March 27 in the Thom Leadership Education Center auditorium. Csongos, a former bureau chief with United Press International and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, shared his journalism experiences, which range from some of the most significant world events of recent decades to interviews with comedian Rodney Dangerfield and artist Andy Warhol.
During his 40 years in journalism, Csongos traveled with former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, reported on the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979 and covered most aspects of the federal government including the White House, Pentagon and Congress.
Csongos reported on the fall of the Soviet Union from inside the Kremlin in 1991. “I was in Moscow—inside the Kremlin with a small group of other American reporters—when President Boris Yeltsin announced the end of the Soviet Union,” Csongos said. “I consider that to be the single most important headline news story of my journalism career.”
Csongos was born in Hungary and came to the U.S. as a refugee in 1964. He graduated from Western Reserve University and took his first job as a reporter with The Cleveland Press in 1969. He earned his master’s degree in journalism from Ohio State University and was then assigned to United Press International’s Charleston bureau in West Virginia. In the years following, Csongos transferred to UPI bureaus in Pittsburgh, New York City and Washington. He was named UPI’s chief diplomatic correspondent in 1991 and the Washington bureau chief in 1992.
In 1994, Csongos left UPI and joined Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as a senior editor and correspondent. He spent five years in Prague and seven in Washington, where he was named chief of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty bureau.
Csongos retired in 2007 but said he is always looking for his next story.
Csongos’ presentation was part of the Looking Beyond Speaker Series made possible through an ongoing gift from Martin and Regina Maehr. The series was created to expose Concordia students and the Seward community to diverse speakers and ideas.