July 29, 2014

EMU graduate and Eastern Echo alum Jason Idalski a winner on Jeopardy

by Geoff Larcom, Published October 10, 2013

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Question: This 2006 Eastern Michigan University graduate, now a web producer for MLive Media Group, has won the popular quiz show Jeopardy for two consecutive nights and will appear again tonight (Oct. 10).

Answer: Who is Jason Idalski.

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EMU graduate Jason Idalski, right, with longtime Jeopardy host Alex Trebek. Idalski, who works for MLive Media Group, graduated from Eastern in 2006.

Yes, Jason Idalski is on a trivia tear, and with a nation and hundreds of friends and colleagues tuning in.

Idalski won decisively in his debut, earning more than $20,000 during his first appearance on the show Tuesday night, and then continued his victory string Wednesday night.

Idalski won with $10,399 Wednesday, pushing his two-day total to $35,998.

Idalski employed a variety of techniques in winning, including mastering the timing and rhythm of the buzzer and wagering only $5 on Daily Double questions.

"Being a math major, I know the strategy of the game," Idalski said, meaning he understands when to take a chance on a category he knows well, and when to hold back.

Idalski, a former staff member of The Eastern Echo, EMU’s student newspaper, works as a web producer and a search engine optimization specialist with MLive Media Group, which comprises a group of web sites and twice-a-week newspapers in Michigan such as The Ann Arbor News and The Grand Rapids Press. He graduated from EMU in 2006 with a triple major in math, economics and journalism.

Idalski, who was also admitted to the University of Michigan, says he'd planned to study math and economics at Eastern in preparing for a career in business, but found he loved journalism after answering an ad to work at the Echo. There he served as a copy editor, managing editor and assistant sports editor.

Memorable faculty members at Eastern for Idalski included political science professor Ed Sidlow and professor Carol Schlagheck, coordinator of EMU's journalism program.

"She's always been great for me," Idalski said. "I learned a lot from Carol and other professors in the journalism program. She is so great to all the Echo people, urging us to get experience and clips (before entering the job market)."

Along with MLive, Idalski has worked at the Grand Rapids Press, Battle Creek Enquirer and Lansing State Journal. He lives in Ypsilanti.

He’s always been a game show/trivia fan, and has taken the Jeopardy online test numerous times. After passing the online test, he earned his spot on Jeopardy during a Detroit audition at the Westin Book Cadillac last summer.

Idalski can’t reveal how he fares Thursday night (Oct. 10), but you can tune in when Jeopardy airs at 7:30 p.m. on NBC (WDIV, Channel 4).

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Geoff Larcom

glarcom@emich.edu

734.487.4400

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