Alumnus Focus - Theoden Janes '93

Théoden Janes ‘93 graduated from the University of Arizona in 1996 with a degree in Journalism and a couple of years of journalistic experience already under his belt, thanks to the Daily Wildcat. Today, he’s a reporter for The Charlotte Observer– a company he’s been with for almost seventeen years– and lives in North Carolina writing feature pieces about extraordinary people.  

Along with writing human-interest pieces, Théoden covers entertainment news part-time. This includes his favorite area to report: major concert tours in the Charlotte area. “It's an opportunity to have a little fun with my writing-- and sometimes quite a lot,” says Théoden of this part of his career, “the hard part is just staying awake long enough to write something GOOD. I'm sometimes up till sunrise, publishing a review at 6:30 a.m. and trying to fall asleep while the sun is shining.” A close second favorite area of Théoden’s is “writing anything that I think will make people reading it get emotional. Stories about resilience in the face of tragedy, for example. Stuff that is inspirational; that kind of thing.”

With past employers such as The Arizona Daily Star, The Arizona Republic, The Washington Post, and The Record of Bergen County, New Jersey, Théoden’s years of experience have allowed him to interview several well-known celebrities. Some recognizable names in his portfolio include Tom Hanks, Steve Martin, Selena Gomez, Kevin Hart, Jon Bon Jovi, Carrie Underwood, Cher, Daniel Radcliffe, and Zendaya. The highlight of Théoden’s career so far has been working on the press junket for The Hunger Games. For this project, he participated in a roundtable interview with Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson and conducted one-on-one interviews with Elizabeth Banks and Lenny Kravitz.  

Théoden keeps himself incredibly active outside of work. A runner of nearly thirty-five marathons since turning thirty-five, he completed his most recent race in just three hours and eighteen minutes. Théoden is also a five-time qualifier and two-time competitor in the Boston Marathon and has completed two full Ironman distance events. When he’s not busy running or writing, he enjoys portrait photography and self-identifies as a huge movie and TV buff– “one of the few people on Earth who still collects physical copies of movies on disc.” 

Théoden remembers his years in Gamma-Rho as a great time spent with great people and a period of personal growth. “I still had plenty of maturing to do after college, but I have to tell you: The most maturing I've ever done in my life was between my freshman and senior years as a member of Gamma-Rho. The members of the chapters were real people with diverse backgrounds, and when I sometimes got a little out of control there was always a brother there to put me back on the right path.” Though still in contact with many of his brothers, Théoden has maintained his closest friendship with fellow initiate Doug Pollock ‘93. Along with being college roommates to playing a role in each other’s weddings, he and Doug completed Ironman side-by-side in 2014. 

Though his time in the chapter was filled with road trips to California and memorable nights at the house, Théoden’s favorite memories are from the many, many times playing beach-sand volleyball in the courtyard. His advice for current undergrads is to “make friends and build bonds, but stay focused. If college seems like one big party, you’re doing it wrong. Having fun is no crime, but goofing off is a slippery slope. Also: make your suppers count! Internships– good internships– were a huge key to my success.”