Marco Buscaglia has been writing stories since the second grade, when he was a student at St. Constance School in Chicago. "Bicentennial Nightmare," Marco's 41-word story that was praised for its sparse, Hemmingway-esque approach to detail and plot—and let's not forget the gloriously formed uppercase A's and lowercase b's—kicked off Marco's manipulation of the written word, which he further developed throughout high school and college. He has been creating content for large and small sums of money since 1991.
Marco began his writing career as a sports columnist for Inside Lincoln Square, a weekly newspaper in Chicago. Marco's crack research skills, along with his unwavering ethics, his unbridled enthusiasm and his ability to reword a press release about a sports-related event at a bar in the neighborhood, gave him ironclad stability at the paper. Also, Robert Snarski, a lifelong friend, a one-time roommate, the best man at Marco's wedding and the godfather to Marco's first child, was Inside Lincoln Square's managing editor, but that's not important. What is important is that Marco parlayed his $15-a-week freelance gig into a full-time, $14,000-a-year job with the Chicago Suburban Times, where he served as a reporter for, then the editor of the Park Ridge Times-Herald for two years, working with some fantastic fresh-out-of-college reporters who, like himself, were willing to work for $6.73 an hour, which they often spent on hot dogs and cheese fries on Wednesday afternoons at post-staff-meeting lunches at Mr. Beef in Mount Prospect.
Marco learned a lot about reporting and writing his two years with the Park Ridge paper, since he was single-handedly responsible for the paper's local content each week. In addition to covering the city's business community, political maneuverings and occasional crimes, Marco relished the chance to write editorials, create photo pages, write about interesting residents and lay out the paper. After putting the paper to bed each Tuesday, Marco especially looked forward to the aforementioned Wednesday staff meetings where the editor of each paper would tell their managing editor that they were working on the same two or three stories each week. Marco's weekly contributions were "I'm interviewing a woman who has a piece of the Berlin Wall on display in her yard" and "I'm trying to track down the history of those unique Park Ridge street signs." Neither suggestion was as good as "I'm working on a story about a doctor who makes house calls," which another editor offered up each week. Still, Marco was able to cover some fairly interesting meetings, a pretty brutal library expansion debate, colorful candidates in the aldermanic elections, racial disharmony at a school and more. The short experience cemented Marco's love of local news and made him see the importance of his reclusive publisher's angry advice during an impromptu appearance at a weekly staff meeting, where he marked individual stories in each paper with a giant red X, admonishing the staff to tell him why the story mattered to "regular Joes." He then told his young $6.73-an-hour journalists that they were now required to write "you" in every story, as in "what does this story mean to you, dear reader," thus beginning weeks of stories with sentences like "You won't want to miss next week's Appearance Commission meeting ... " or "You might be paying a lot more in property taxes next year if ... " until he forgot about it and moved on to larger issues, like how he could find reporters and editors to staff a newsroom of eight suburban papers for $6.72 an hour.
After ignoring a phone message from the Tribune Company in February, thinking it was a call soliciting a subscription to the Chicago Tribune, which he already read for free each day at his current job—and he was more of a Sun-Times guy, anyway—Marco realized the caller behind the message on his answering machine was referencing a blind ad he had responded to weeks earlier. In May of 1994, after a few interviews over the course of three months, Marco began a nearly 21-year tenure at the Tribune Company, where he worked with some talented people, made strong friendships and had a two-decade-long string of incredible bosses. Although Marco worked in various roles, he spent the majority of his career with Tribune Media Services, the company's syndication service. Marco worked as a reporter and then editor of the company's college news service. He went to the White House during Bill Clinton's first term and interviewed several cabinet members and the president about the newly created AmeriCorps program. He rode that story about as far as he could before becoming a producer on the breaking-news portion of chicagotribune.com when the site first launched in March of 1996. In September of 2001, Marco was part of a team that helped launch a new job-related initiative within Tribune Company, and served as editor of the CareerBuilder page for nearly 13 years, which was part of his role as general manager of Tribune Content Agency's specialty-publications group. After a reorganization of his division in 2014, Marco worked on the Tribune Company's sponsored-content initiative with the newly-formed Tribune Brand Publishing. In his redefined role, Marco worked with story sources, advertisers, freelancers, sales representatives and marketing associates on numerous projects that featured effective, compelling and seamless content for clients like Allstate, Macy’s, McDonald’s and others.
Thanks to an amazing amount of support from his wife and kids, friends and former colleagues, Marco left Tribune Content Agency in 2015 and began freelance writing, editing and consulting, eventually forming Bus 64, which focuses on conceptualizing and creating stories for anyone who was willing to help him pay his mortgage. Marco soon lined up his old gig with the Tribune's CareerBuilder pages, providing his former company and colleagues with stories about the job-search process, career trends and employee profiles. Marco's stories have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Orlando Sentinel, Red Eye and the Miami Herald, among others. He also has done work for numerous businesses and associations, including PR Newswire, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and Paylocity.
Marco earned his Bachelor of Science in English from Illinois State University in 1991 and his Master of Arts in Writing from DePaul University in 2009. At DePaul, Marco began working on a collection of semi-autobiographical short stories centered around the park across the street from his childhood house and the group of boys who called it home. After letting it sit for a couple of years, Marco is working on "Park 285" once again, and regardless of whether or not it gets published, it has become a wonderful diversion and centering element of his post-Tribune life. Marco's fiction and poetry have run in the Chicago Reader, Druid’s Cave and other publications.
Marco has been an adjunct composition instructor at Roosevelt University since 2009, where he's learned that the cliched summaries of millennials are nonsense. He's not sure if he thinks this because he teaches motivated, hard-working students who actively participate in class discussions and welcome candid advice on their writing, or if they're nice enough to smile and occasionally laugh when he goes into a 10-minute schtick about his dead grandmother. Either way, Marco's a fan.
After years of writing thoughts and opinions in small journals, blank pieces of paper, old notebooks, the margins of newspapers, index cards and the back of his hand, Marco began blogging in 2010, becoming the 68,143,532th person on the planet to think that someone actually gives a shit about his opinions on life, family, politics and food. You can check out his current efforts at online narcissism at butsko.com.
Marco lives in Chicago with his wife Cathy, the same Cathy he met when he was 17, the same Cathy who would listen to him read Nelson Algren paragraphs to her while sitting in his room at Illinois State University, the same Cathy who is a special education teacher for the Chicago Public Schools. They have two daughter and two sons, three of whom are off at college, a dog who survived Hurricane Katrina, a dog with a face that looks frighteningly human, a somewhat ailing yet angry cat and an incredibly smart goldfish.
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