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I.J. Hudson spent much of his broadcast career chasing after politicians and technological trends.

Now he is on another side of the media industry as communications director with the Bethesda law firm of Garson Claxton LLC. Hudson not only handles public relations duties for the firm but provides clients with another service — media relations.

‘‘I help our clients communicate their message to the public,” said Hudson, 60, who was an on-air reporter and anchor for more than two decades with NBC affiliate WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. ‘‘A lot of people can write down what they want to say, but saying it so that people remember what you say can be a different matter.”

Hudson is a tremendous asset to the 11-lawyer firm, said Jerry Pasternak, government relations consultant for Garson Claxton.

‘‘I.J. adds strength and depth to our Government Relations Group,” Pasternak said in a statement. ‘‘He is well-known and well-respected in both the industry and the community.”

Besides helping Garson Claxton clients with media relations, Hudson, who joined the firm part time in April and was put on the full-time staff this month, instructs them in crisis communications and helps them with aspects such as Internet sites and video presentations.

While some large law firms have communications directors to give clients these extras, Hudson said he did not know of many medium to small firms with the service.

Growing up in Mound City, Ill., near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, Hudson graduated from Meridian High School in Illinois and earned a bachelor’s in radio-television production at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.

His first ‘‘job” out of college was with the Navy, as he was among those drafted in the initial lottery in his area. Following boot camp at Great Lakes, Ill., Hudson was selected for officer’s candidate school in Rhode Island and then assigned as a public affairs officer for an admiral’s staff on the USS Enterprise.

He was stationed in the Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of Vietnam, but that was several years after the reported 1964 attacks. ‘‘It was a very interesting time in my life,” Hudson said. ‘‘I have always looked fondly on my naval service.”

Hudson left the Navy in 1974 to begin his television career. He worked for stations in Green Bay, Wis.; Milwaukee; Columbus, Ohio; New Orleans; San Diego; and Chicago before moving to the Washington area in 1985.

The wide variety of interesting subjects in this area was key to keeping Hudson here. He spent many years covering the Maryland governor’s office and legislature and later regularly covered technological issues in his ‘‘Digital Edge” reports.

‘‘National stories were often also local stories,” Hudson said. ‘‘Toward the end of my career, I covered a lot of technology stories. This area is one of the top technology corridors in the country.”

Besides winning broadcasting honors, including six Emmys, Hudson was honored by the American Kidney Foundation for his efforts to help coordinate transporting kidney patients to life-saving dialysis treatments during the 1996 blizzard.

That blizzard was among his most memorable stories at WRC, he said. ‘‘I was separated from my family for days because of power outages,” Hudson said. ‘‘But I was able to coordinate four-wheel drivers with the kidney dialysis patients using our airwaves.”

Another memorable story occurred in 2001 when he and his news team were driving north on Interstate 95 in Virginia and noticed there was no southbound traffic. Hudson told his photographer to stop at the next cross-over, and they found a 132-vehicle pileup caused by icy and foggy conditions.

‘‘No other reporter could get in to cover the story,” Hudson said. ‘‘Right place, right time.”

Last year, in the midst of a cost-cutting drive by WRC parent NBC Universal, station executives exercised an option not to pick up the last year of Hudson’s three-year contract. Numerous other WRC broadcasters eventually also left, including sportscaster George Michael, who reportedly turned down a contract after hearing that others on the staff could be cut, and anchor Susan Kidd.

Hudson lives with his wife, Jan, in Darnestown. They have two grown children. In his spare time, he enjoys working outdoors in the yard and pursuing an amateur radio hobby.


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