The following year he joined the Kansas City Times as a reporter, and in 1985, he became assistant editor at Corporate Report Kansas City magazine. In 1986, he moved to Arizona Trend magazine as a writer and later became managing editor. He left the magazine in 1989 to pursue a year long writing fellowship at Duke University.
In August 1990, Mr. Helliker rejoined the Journal as a reporter in Dallas. He moved to New York in November 1992 as a special writer on the paper's page-one desk, and in June 1993, he transferred to the Journal's London bureau. He was named Dallas bureau chief in May 1994 and Chicago bureau chief in May 1996.