Tom Abate is a native of New York City, the oldest of six children born into a family of Italian and Greek descent. A graduate of Regis High School, he briefly attended New York University before enlisting in the U.S. Navy and attaining the rank of Petty Officer Second Class.
Tom got his first exposure to print and broadcast journalism at the Defense Information School, the training institute for the Armed Forces Radio and Television Network. For three years he ran a closed-circuit radio and television station aboard a Navy ship in the Pacific.
After his honorable discharge, Tom attended UC Berkeley on the G.I. Bill and continued his journalism training as a reporter for the campus paper, the Daily Californian. He was elected editor-in-chief of the paper when it was on the verge of bankruptcy. Tom helped lead a financial turnaround and also broke a story about the H-bomb “secret” that briefly put both him the paper in the national spotlight.
Tom graduated Berkeley summa cum laude with a major in political science and a minor in Mandarin. After college, he moved to the Northern California town of Eureka and was married. (For a blog entry about his early misadventures as a would-be publisher see: “The time I bought half-interest in a newspaper from a man with wooden teeth.”)
Through hard work and good luck, Tom redirected his energies into a successful typesetting business, which helped pioneer a new technology for creating manuscripts from digital text files. This technological advantage helped the tiny Eureka company create a national mail order business that served small press book publishers.
When desktop publishing undermined the typesetting trade, Tom took another run at publishing by co-founding an alternative monthly, the North Coast Journal of Politics, People and Art. He sold the Journal in order to attend the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. There, he earned his Master’s degree and was one of three recipients of the school’s top honor, the Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship.
Tom started his daily newspaper career as a science writer and Silicon Valley reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He also spent more than a decade at the San Francisco Chronicle, covering technology, biotechnology, economics and the business culture of Silicon Valley.
Tom is the author of “The Biotech Investor” published by Times Books, and is a member of the advisory board of the Society for New Communications Research. He has taught journalism at the junior college level and as an instructor for the UC Extension.
From 2005 to 2010 Tom blogged at MiniMediaGuy.org, writing about the business, technology and culture of interactive media.
No Research Reports have been listed for this Fellow.