For The Privilege Of Being A Reporter

For the Privilege Of Being A Reporter

by Carol Marin & Don Moseley

The day after Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton for the presidency of the United States, an impassioned email arrived from one of our students.  In it she asks critical questions for anyone hoping to work in the world of news.  And anyone who currently does:

 Hi Don & Carol, 

This is probably going to seem like an odd request but I was wondering if, as the directors for the Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence, you would send out an email or a statement or something to DePaul’s Journalism program reminding students that one of the pillars of good journalism is objectivity. Since the election, I have seen a lot of my peers posting on various social media sites either they’re (sic) personal thoughts on the outcome and Donald Trump or showing their support for one cause or another. I don’t know if they think this doesn’t compromise their objectivity because they are still students or if they don’t see it as compromising, but having spent the last several months with the both of you grappling with how journalists should conduct themselves in all situations, I think a reminder about the importance of at least maintaining the appearance of objectivity would be useful. 

Thank you for reading my rant.

          Even the most seasoned among us need reminders on a regular basis.

In 2004, I had just joined the Chicago Sun-Times and was writing on deadline for that November election night that pitted incumbent president George W. Bush against Senator John Kerry.  And for the United States Senate, democrat Barack Obama against republican Alan Keyes.

There was a newsroom meeting right before the polls closed.  Managing Editor Don Hayner gathered all of us into the conference room and I will never forget his words: “Gather the vote totals and the facts.  I don’t want to hear a single one of you voice your own opinion in that newsroom.  Are we clear?”

We were clear.  Why?  Because he was.

And we should be as well.

This is a marvelous profession but for the privilege of being a journalist, we voluntarily give up some of the perks of being a citizen.  We keep our personal view to ourselves, not vomited up all over Facebook and Twitter.  We take care to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.  And if we have a conflict, we divulge it.  We go to every story and every interview with an open mind and listen.

If that was a “rant” our student sent, it was a rant worth reading.

And re-reading.

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For the Privilege of Being A Reporter

For the Privilege of Being a Reporter
by Carol Marin & Don Moseley

       The day after Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton for the presidency of the United States, an impassioned email arrived from one of our students.  In it, she asks critical questions for anyone hoping to work in the world of news.  And, just as importantly, for anyone who currently does:

Hi Don & Carol, 

This is probably going to seem like an odd request but I was wondering if, as the directors for the Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence, you would send out an email or a statement or something to DePaul’s Journalism program reminding students that one of the pillars of good journalism is objectivity. Since the election, I have seen a lot of my peers posting on various social media sites either they’re personal thoughts on the outcome and Donald Trump or showing their support for one cause or another. I don’t know if they think this doesn’t compromise their objectivity because they are still students or if they don’t see it as compromising, but having spent the last several months with the both of you grappling with how journalists should conduct themselves in all situations, I think a reminder about the importance of at least maintaining the appearance of objectivity would be useful. 
Thank you for reading my rant.

          Even the most seasoned among us need reminders on a regular basis.
In 2004, I joined the Chicago Sun-Times and was writing on deadline for the November election night that pitted incumbent President George W. Bush against Senator John Kerry.  And for the United States Senate, democrat Barack Obama against republican Alan Keyes.
There was a newsroom meeting right before the polls closed.  Managing Editor Don Hayner gathered all of us into the conference room and I will never forget his words: “Gather the vote totals and the facts.  I don’t want to hear a single one of you voice your own opinion in that newsroom.  Are we clear?”
We were clear.  Why?  Because he was.
And we should have been as well.
This is a marvelous profession but for the privilege of being a journalist, we voluntarily give up some of the perks of being a citizen.  We keep our personal view to ourselves, not vomited up all over Facebook and Twitter.  We take care to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.  And if we have a conflict, we disclose it.  We go to every story and every interview with an open mind and heart. And we listen.
If that was a “rant” our student sent, it was a rant worth reading.
And re-reading.
-30-

 

Have Passion For What You Do

Rather, former news anchor at “CBS Evening News,” spoke Friday night at a community conversation held by Poynter in St. Petersburg, Florida. Included in the audience were members of the Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists, with journalists from 70 countries.

“This is a once-in-a-generation election,” Rather said, “because I think it will reverberate for quite a long time.”

Before this election, Rather said, it was a given that fact and truth counted for something. Politicians were held accountable. The country has never had a campaign that went as low as this one did, Rather said, or one where both candidates both had such negative approval ratings.

But it’s worth remembering, he said to the citizens and international visitors in the audience, that freedom of the press is enshrined in our Bill of Rights.

“In our system of government and in our society, a free and independent, truly independent, fiercely independent press is the red beating heart of democracy.”

With a few exceptions, Rather said, the press didn’t distinguish itself in this election. Now, it’s gut-check time.

The press now must do three things to cover President-elect Donald Trump, he said.

One, ask tough questions. Two, “and perhaps more important, ask tough follow-up questions,” he said, not for the benefit of circulation or ratings or demographics, “but because these questions need to be asked.” And three, the press has to dig deep with investigative reporting.

It’s gone a bit out of style, Rather said, “but it’s going to be needed over the next year and a half to two years in particular.”

All of that has to happen in an era that Rather admitted was a different one from his own, when deadlines happened every day, every other day if you were a star. Now, journalists are expected to tweet, Facebook, blog and more.

“There’s a deadline every nanosecond,” he said.

And that leaves less time for actual reporting.

Still, he said, it’s hard to think of a craft, profession or skill whose standards have endured for so long.

Rather took questions from the international journalists in the audience, but his answers may resonate with American journalists now, too. What advice did he have for journalists who feel threatened by their government?

“Some days, in some ways, danger is my business,” Rather said. “That’s what the craft is about.”

He knows what it’s like to balance journalism with family and bills and obligations. He had to make those choices himself, including trekking into Afghanistan in 1980 after the Soviet Union invaded. His wife and daughter asked him not to go, Rather told the audience, but he told them it might be one of the great stories of his generation, and he wanted to get it.

There are a lot of downsides to journalism, Rather said.

“But when it’s at its best and you’re part of it, you have a sense of being part of something bigger than yourself,” he said.

The evening’s last question: What advice did he have for women to help stay in journalism?

To be a journalist and to be a good journalist, Rather said, requires passion. Do you have it? Can you develop it? And then, can you sustain it?

Journalists might not make a lot of money, the odds of being famous are so small it’s not even worth thinking about, he said, “but you can live an adventurous life, and at the end you may say some of what I did counted. Some of it mattered.”

Who’s Right?

Same Story, Two Networks: CBS, NBC Differ on Arizona Republic Story

After the Arizona Republic endorsed a democratic presidential candidate for the first time in its 126-year history, outraged readers launched death threats at the paper’s staff.

On Oct. 17, as part of a package about rising tensions in the elections, NBC devoted 20 seconds to the threats.

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NBC Graphic

Mi-Ai Parrish, president of the Arizona Republic, said people are spitting on students selling subscriptions and a man threatened to pour boiling water on anyone who comes to his house on the paper’s behalf.

On Oct. 19, CBS ran a nearly three-minute package about the paper’s endorsement and subsequent firestorm.

CBS Graphic

CBS Graphic

CBS reporter Lee Cowan detailed the rude, hateful and threatening emails and phone calls to the paper.

CBS Graphic

CBS Graphic

CBS Graphic

CBS Graphic

 

 

 

 

 

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CBS Graphic

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CBS Graphic

 

 

 

 

 

However, the tone of calls and emails improved after Parrish wrote another editorial thanking those who respectfully disagreed with the paper.

Was it a mistake for NBC not to include how things are getting better at the paper and therefore promote a more fearful tone? Was what NBC did sufficient to tell the story or did it need to be done in the way CBS did? Is this story important enough to warrant coverage from all of the networks?

Carol Marin, political editor for NBC Chicago, said she doesn’t quarrel with the way each network covered the story.

“Someone at NBC decided they wanted a multifaceted story with examples of how the climate in and around this election has become poisonous,” Marin said. “What CBS did was pull out in a fuller way this one instance and I think each is valid.”

Marin said the networks have more discretion when covering this story which is not breaking news and likes that the three networks did not “march in step”.

“It’s a fascinating story to me, but then, I’m the press, Marin said. “I think this is a jump ball.”

This story illuminates the rising tensions between politics and media during this election. Programs with limited airtime have to decide which stories warrant coverage. This story is valuable but not mandatory.

Investigative Reporting

Bombshell Newsday exposé is the exception, not the rule, for local journalism

By James Warren • October 31, 2016

When a big shot Long Island politician was recently charged with swapping contracts and favors for freebie vacations and other bribes, The New York Times gave credit where credit was due.

“The arrests capped months of looming trouble for Mr. Mangano, a powerful figure in Republican politics on Long Island and the top elected official in Nassau County. He has been dogged by reports — many published in Newsday — that he had received free gifts and vacations from a longtime friend, Harendra Singh, a Long Island restaurateur with about 30 businesses in the area and several government contracts.”

When I saw that reference, I dropped a line of congratulations to Rich Rosen, the paper’s managing editor and an old friend, who then passed along a link to the project.

I came away impressed by the tough, old-fashioned reporting and the results it prompted. Yes, the defendants are innocent until proven guilty. But the coverage is honorable and exacting labor — the sort that few elsewhere would care about but seems essential for Rosen’s area of coverage.

You won’t hear pundits on the morning cable news shows discussing it. They’re more likely to spend hours speculating about the latest campaign polls in “battleground” states or the latest Trump-Clinton clash caught on video.

But it’s exactly the sort of un-sexy, tough, labor-intensive work that is imperiled with the decline of local newsgathering resources. Yes, Disney may be throwing $400 million at Vice, and Comcast is investing $200 million in BuzzFeed. But there’s a fat chance they’ll be doing this sort of local journalism with regularity anytime soon.

“For more than a year, a team of Newsday reporters searched countless documents, cultivated sources and did old-fashioned shoe-leather journalism to disclose the connections among Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto and businessman and political power player Harendra Singh,” Newsday editor Deborah Henley said.

Much of the work pervades the indictments of Mangano and Venditto. And Singh, who was indicted separately last year, faces more than 10 years in prison if convicted on charges of fraud and bribing a former Oyster Bay employee. Mangano’s wife, Linda, is accused of making $450,000 from a no-show job with Singh and is charged with obstruction and making false statements.

What does it all say about the state of journalism?

I sent the stories to Jack Davis, former publisher of the Hartford Courant and himself a crack investigative reporter earlier in his career.

“This is the kind of disappearing watchdog news coverage that citizens once relied on to prop up a faith that even small government misdeeds would be brought to light,” says Davis, who lives in New Orleans.

“I’m afraid this is a dying genre, with newspaper staffs reduced in many places below the number of reporters needed for investigative work — and with newsroom management depleted of editors capable of guiding investigative reporters.”

He concludes, “I expect that government officials and contractors are responding to being left alone more often by misbehaving more often. The public gets the impression that these granular-level government operations are okay, when the opposite is true.”

For sure, there are some outlets who fully support significant investigations, including some in the frequent journalism wasteland of local TV news.

Carol Marin, a prominent Chicago investigative reporter-anchor, limited her thoughts to her longtime home at the NBC-owned and operated WMAQ-TV. They’ve been supportive.

“And they are giving us not just resources but when advertisers threaten to pull their ads — as a couple recently have — they tell us to keep reporting what we’re reporting. They have our back and it’s good,” says Marin, director of the DePaul Center for Journalism Integrity & Excellence and longtime fixture on “Chicago Tonight” on WTTW, the PBS outlet.

Then there’s Tom Rosenstiel, himself a terrific reporter who now oversees the American Press Institute and wrote about this topic in a 2015 Brookings Institution paper.

I sent him the Newsday work, too, and he makes two points. One involves “the shift in power from content creators to platforms (or content distributors). The second speaks to how “the real crisis in journalism is not technological, It’s geographical. The crisis is the decline of local journalism. There is no shortage of people covering the White House or the campaign.”

As he writes, for Brookings, “The great crisis for American journalism and democratic society shouldn’t be thought about at the platform level — newspapers versus online or television versus streaming, social media versus traditional. It should be understood at the civic and geographic level. The crisis is local. That is where the shrinking is most severe and where
there is least sign of growth.”

He threw out various metrics and other evidence. When it comes to the move to platform from content creation, he puts it this way:

“One change that should raise some concerns is a power shift in our media economy away from journalism institutions that create content and civic knowledge to companies that build technology and platforms instead. In the first two decades of the web at least, content has not been king. Platform has.”

When it comes to that geographical switch, meaning simply fewer reporters on the ground, his take is this:

“The other critical change of the digital era of news is away from what has been the traditional bulwark of American journalism — local news institutions — toward national. From the standpoint of democratic implications, this may be the most significant of all.”

He mentioned one striking indicator of that trend. Looking at the most popular digital networks, only four are engaged to a significant degree in local content creation: Gannett, The New York Times, Hearst and Condé Nast owner Advance Publications.

“The same shift away from local news and local accountability is true if we look at a different list online destinations — the top 50 web networks that fall in the news category. On the list of just journalistic destinations, 36 of the top 50 digital journalism networks are national in nature. Just 14 are local, or even include significant local components.”

He notes that his own definition of what might be deemed news is broad and includes the likes of sports site Bleacher Report.

When it comes to boots on the ground, he cited Labor Department figures that show how the actual number of journalists has risen in only Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles over the last 10 years, which coincides with internet-driven industry tumult.

In the nation’s capital, it’s nearly doubled, while in New York City it’s remained unchanged. Nationwide, there was a loss of about 12,000 journalists, or one out of four reporting positions, with lot of folks heading to more secure financial environs in public relations.

As Rosenstiel puts it, “In other words, the crisis in American journalism isn’t that we don’t have enough people at the White House, though the makeup of that group has shifted, as Towson State University’s Martha Kumar notes, citing the newcomers in the White House daily travel pool who include The Daily Beast, BuzzFeed, The Daily Caller, The Guardian, BNA, RealClearPolitics, The Root and Politico.

“The crisis,” says Rosenstiel, “is how few people now cover local, city and state councils of power.”

It’s why our hats are off to Newsday. It’s too bad that more people don’t appreciate the link between strong democracy and this sort of journalism.

Excellence advice from the late CBS reporter Eric Enberg

This comes from a speech Enberg made and this part was published in the online website NewsBlues:

 

“I hate photo opportunities. They’re largely phony and non-substantive and have nothing to do with the way we govern a nation,” said the late CBS correspondent Eric Engbergmore than thirty years ago when he spoke to a meeting of TV news directors. His words ring true now today more than ever.

Engberg believed journalists were letting political candidates manipulate them.

“See if you see yourself in any of this,” he said. “You go to the event. You know the event is silly. You write a story in which you convey to your listeners a sense that the event was silly and contrived. You put the story on the air accompanied by pictures of the candidate riding a horse, eating a blintz, visiting a farm or whatever.”

“If the event has been well-staged by his campaign staff, it doesn’t matter what you said in your copy. The candidate looks pretty good in your story and the next day people come up to you and say, ‘I saw you covered Senator Schmaltz’s event yesterday. Boy he looked good!'”

“You conclude, ‘They didn’t listen to a thing I said. I led the story, ‘Dopey Senator Schmaltz, in another blatant bid for re-election votes, staged another hony-baloney visit to a pig farm yesterday…'”

That is the power of pictures on television.

“I fear we have ceded too much authority to some of the politicians we cover. We ought to try to do something about that,” said Engberg, who worked for CBS News from 1976 to 2003 and died earlier this year. “Where does it start? It starts in the newsroom where editors have to be tougher. They’ve got to be willing to give up those good pictures and give up some of those color stories by saying, ‘This event has no substance to it; it’s a dog and pony show. Let’s write it out.’ It begins with the individual reporter and his or her willingness to stand for what he or she believes.”

“We have to fight these battles the way an infantry platoon fights them—one hill at a time. But it’s only when we are fighting these battles, not when we’re giving in, not when we’re letting the technological tail wag the editorial dog—it’s then that we have the right to call ourselves by what I think is the most honorable title I know: reporters.”

Opposing views following the Clinton-Trump debate

Two post-debate views: Demetra DeMonte is the Republican National Committeewoman from Illinois.

Clarence Page is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune.

 

Dementa DeMonte:

Dear activists, leaders, voters  of the great state of Illinois!

It has been a difficult election cycle and it has gotten even worse. If we allow words verses deeds to decide this election we will be stuck with Hillary Clinton! Trump may be flawed but Hillary is a criminal! Our nominee Donald Trump needs us to stand with him! Last night I send the following email to every member of the Republican National Committee – and I have had many, many positive responses from my fellow members!  Please stand with Donald Trump – for our country – for  our children – for our grandchildren!

Demetra DeMonte

Co-Chair Trump Illinois

Republican National Committeewoman for Illinois

RNC Secretary 2011-2015

 

Dear Fellow RNC members,

I believe it is now time for us to speak up about the swirling news over the last 24 hours.

First and foremost, Donald J Trump is not going to step down – nor should he. He is our lawfully elected nominee.

Yes – Donald Trump used some very inappropriate language. We can all agree on that. I certainly do not condone it. But one thing is sure – he is not the first – nor will he be the last to utter foul language in the privacy of their home or in their locker rooms.

What would be so amusing, if it wasn’t so disingenuous, is that Hillary is appalled and disgusted  at Trump’s language. Right… just like Captain Renault, the character from Casablanca, is “shocked, shocked” that there is gambling going on in Rick’s Café, while at the same time he is accepting his ill-gotten gambling winnings!

Hillary, the consummate hypocrite, who while First Lady, barraged her own Secret Service detail with unspeakably foul language! The very same men who put their lives on the line for hers! Such hypocrisy!

But here is the real question – what I believe we should really focus on:  When choosing a President what is more important – Words or Deeds?

Mr. Trump may be guilty of uttering foul language – but Hillary is guilty of committing foul deeds – deeds, if she were anyone else, would have resulted in prison time.

  • She has deleted thousands of documents which she knew was illegal;
  • She had an unsecured server in her home that jeopardized America ’s security and more than likely resulted in the deaths of some of our people;
  • She refused multiple cries for help from our ambassador that resulted in his murder, along with 3 brave Americans!
  • She mercilessly hounded and attacked numerous women Bill Clinton sexually assaulted;
  • Hillary laughed when she got off a rapist of a 12 year old girl – while knowing all along her client was guilty of rape! That is on tape, too – why doesn’t the media play that audio?
  • And now it comes out that Hillary DREAMS of open borders and open trade. Oh, really? That’s not what she’s been preaching! No wonder she didn’t want to release her speeches to her Wall Street backers – the same people who made her rich by taking millions of dollars from them.

Our choice is simple.

Although Donald Trump is not a perfect man – who among us is? – he is our lawfully elected nominee and if we all stand behind him NOW – he will win November 8th.

I ask all of my fellow RNC members to please stay the course, stay with Donald Trump, and let us do all that we can to elect him on November 8th. There is too much at stake – including, most of all, the Supreme Court.

Join me in affirming your support for our nominee Donald J. Trump!

 

Demetra DeMonte

Co-Chair Trump Illinois

Republican National Committeewoman for Illinois

RNC Secretary 2011-2015

 

Clarence Page 10/11/16

British politician Nigel Farage is a big fan of Donald Trump, although he chose an odd way to express it while chatting with reporters backstage after Sunday’s presidential debate in St. Louis.

A leader in Britain’s Brexit movement to leave the European Union, Farage praised Trump’s performance against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to “a silverback gorilla,” according to The Guardian.

“He looked like a big gorilla prowling the set,” Farage said, “and he is that big alpha male — that’s what he is, that’s what he is.”

He said that. I, as a nonfan of Trump, am more inclined to view Farage’s remark as an insult to gorillas. Gorilla behavior, unlike Trump’s, tends to make sense.

Since the New York real estate developer and reality-TV star has a grasp of important issues that is about as deep as a birdbath, he tried to make up for it with bizarre body language and other antics to look tough.

He prowled the stage. He did pushups on the back of a chair. He stalked Clinton. He walked toward her as she spoke and stood behind her, his eyes locked on the back of her head like a jewelry store security guard, waiting for her to steal something.

With his chin up in a silent Mussolini-like pose, cameras caught the video-savvy Trump looming over his opponent like an orange-topped chicken hawk, ready to pounce or, at least, ready to rattle her and the audience with childish distractions.

Al Gore was properly ridiculed for walking into George W. Bush’s space during Bush’s turn to speak during their first presidential debate in 2000. Sixteen years later, Trump seemed to think that cheap distraction had become a good idea.

He repeatedly interrupted Clinton like a hyperactive schoolboy. He boldly branded her as “a liar” and “the devil,” even as he praised his own temperament.

If he is elected, he said, throwing red meat to his base, he will direct his attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor aimed at putting Clinton “in jail.”

Excuse me? Are we Americans crying out to have our own Robert Mugabe or Kim Jong Un? Or was Trump’s admiration for Vladimir Putin spinning out of control?

His staff later said he was just joking with that jail thing. But the deeper truth is that Trump’s desperation was showing. His lack of preparation and abundance of missed opportunities in his first debate had put his poll numbers into a slide and his Grand Old Party’s leaders into a panic.

Worse, a 2005 video anonymously released a couple of days before the second presidential debate caught Trump bragging lewdly and crudely about using his fame to force himself on women. Suddenly dozens of prominent Republicans started withdrawing their support and looking for ways to force their nominee off the ticket, perhaps to replace Trump with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump’s more traditionally conservative and sane running mate.

So with less than 30 days to go to Election Day, a time when most nominees are turning their appeals to moderate undecided or uncommitted swing voters, Trump was pivoting back to shore up his hardcore Hillary-hating base.

Against that backdrop, Trump’s bombastic behavior begins to make a lot of sense, as Farage suggests, in a simian sort of way. A strikingly similar view was expressed by celebrated primatologist Jane Goodall.

In a pre-debate analysis by journalist James Fallows in the October issue of The Atlantic, he quotes Goodall as saying before Trump clinched the GOP nomination that, “In many ways, the performances of Donald Trump remind me of male chimpanzees and their dominance rituals.”

“In order to impress rivals, males seeking to rise in the dominance hierarchy perform spectacular displays — stamping, slapping the ground, dragging branches, throwing rocks,” she said, according to Fallows. “The more vigorous and imaginative the display, the faster the individual is likely to rise in the hierarchy, and the longer he is likely to maintain that position.”

Sound familiar?

Clinton’s supporters complain that she passed up opportunities to wash Trump away in a flood of facts. But with her lead in polls widening, she refused to take Trump’s bait. She preferred to follow the old advice often attributed to Napoleon: Never interfere with an enemy while he is in the process of destroying himself.

Clarence Page, a member of the Tribune Editorial Board, blogs at www.chicagotribune.com/pagespage.

Students get it right

At the bottom of the story in the DePaulia (regarding Carol’s lecture) you may have noticed a disclaimer. It states that several members of our class also hold key editorial functions for the school paper, including editor and managing editor.

In our class we recently discussed the ethical question: if the paper decided to cover Carol’s speech, what should those students who will be graded by us do?  Should they have a role in what is reported? What is edited? The headline? The placement in the paper or the web?

It’s the kind of discussion we’ve been having in almost every class.  And to our great delight it is what students say they like most about each class period.

It was their decision to, in this case, include a disclaimer. But our decision to claim they are learning their lessons well!

 

Confessions of a Diehard Political Reporter in an Apocalyptic Election Year

By Jake Ekdahl

Carol Marin, director, Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence, gives remarks during a dedication and reception event last May. Marin gave the center’s first lecture Wednesday night. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)
Carol Marin, director, Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence, gives remarks during a dedication and reception event last May. Marin gave the center’s first lecture Wednesday night. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)

Carol Marin has been a journalist in Chicago for nearly 40 years, spanning several different presidents, governors, mayors and other politicians. Those years of experience came in handy Wednesday night as she gave the inaugural lecture at the DePaul Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence, which she co-directs.

The event, “Confessions of a Diehard Political Reporter in an Apocalyptic Election Year,” allowed Marin, the political editor at NBC 5 Chicago, to share lessons from her career covering politics and discuss an election year many have called ‘apocalyptic’.

Marin and her longtime producer Don Moseley launched the center in May 2016, hoping it will serve as a bridge between the academic and professional worlds for DePaul journalism students. The duo’s relationship with DePaul dates back to 2003, however, when they launched the DePaul Documentary Project. The program’s many interns would go onto successful careers in broadcast news and other professions.

Marin began by talking about the most recent political event, the first 2016 presidential debate. She was was not particularly pleased with it.

“It was like roadkill, you couldn’t look at it, and you couldn’t look away … I don’t think it was like anything I have seen, in all these years,” she said.

Marin also voiced frustration at candidates from both parties claiming to be outsiders.

“They profess to be an outsider, not an insider; they’re not a politician, they’re with the people. It’s bipartisan (and) it’s a trope. It’s been used by Barack Obama, it’s been used by Bruce Rauner. My first confession to you, is that I’ve never bought it,” Marin said. “I’ve never bought ‘career politician’ as a pejorative term … Illinois has produced some great career politicians — you might call Abraham Lincoln one of them.” She also noted that making a career out of something implies a commitment to it, and a determination to make a difference.

The 30 minute speech was rife with humorous personal stories. Marin recalled the time she caught frostbite covering an outdoor event in snow-covered Iowa, because she “stupidly wore a really great pair of high heels — and I tell you they were really great shoes.”

Pulling from her years of experience, Marin enlightened the audience with a fact that is sometimes overlooked in political reporting: everyone who runs for president genuinely believes they can win.

“Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, in running for President, possessed the same hubris as Donald Trump,” she said. “You have to have it. Call it a different name, if you want. Call it — I don’t know — the ‘Audacity of Hope’” she said, which sparked laughter from the audience.

Marin said she blames her parents for her inclination to be a political reporter.

“I’m a child of a divided household, and so I was born to be a political reporter,” she said. “My mother was a devout Catholic, and a Roosevelt Democrat; and my father was fallen-away Baptist, and a diehard Republican. Dinner every night of my childhood, was a food fight … my parents lived for Election Day, when they could go out to the polls and cancel each other out.

Recalling the 1960 election between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, Marin said that her father voted for the latter, then later felt betrayed after the Watergate scandal. In the Illinois gubernatorial election that same year, her mother voted for Otto Kerner, and also felt betrayed after he was found to have taken bribes.

“It was my parents, who were my first teachers about public corruption,” Marin said, “They are the reason I won a national award for reporting illegal election shenanigans. Specifically, how then Congressman Bill Lipinski had his precinct captains falsifying nominating petitions.” Marin called the crooked practice a “time-honored tradition in Chicago.”

“We have a long and horrible history of corruption in Illinois; and if it’s changed at all, it hasn’t changed enough,” she said.

She built on this point by giving an overview of Illinois’ dire political impasse.

“In this state, I think we can genuinely talk about apocalypse. We have six month spending plan that’s about to expire––and not one to replace it; we have patchworks that are paying some of our bills; we’re (behind) a year and a half in paying medical providers. Just today we learned Chicago State’s enrollment dropped 25 percent, that is an apocalypse.”

The hyper-partisanship of the state was something Marin found to be a tremendous waste of resources: “When Bruce Rauner’s 20 million dollars in campaign donations –– mostly out of his own pocket –– and Mike Madigan’s immense multimillion dollar war chest, is spent on this cycle, will the general assembly look different? Not particularly.”

“Time and again, we see lawmakers so afraid of crossing Madigan or Rauner, that they won’t talk to us (reporters).”

Illinois is not the only state with a mistrust for the media, and Marin has seen that same sentiment on national level. She recalled driving to the Republican National Convention and seeing a sign that read, “Don’t trust the liberal media.”

“Even nonpartisan fact checking websites, with no axe to grind, are rejected. Because in the era of social media, I can go any place to find something that will verify my view — whether it’s the truth or whether it’s not.”

Marin cited the diversity of headlines, reporting angles, and writers’ opinions after the first debate as evidence that the media was not some “monolithic menace that is rigging elections.”

Despite it all, Marin was optimistic: “I love this stuff. For all the horror and all the chaos, I love this stuff. Politics is messy, but it’s also the price we pay for democracy. To be a reporter covering this territory is a gift. Made only greater by the fact that at DePaul University, this great Vincentian School, they’ve launched this wonderful Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence.”


 

Editor’s note: DePaulia editors Danielle Church, Deni Kamper, Rachel Hinton, Brenden Moore and Jessica Villagomez are students of Marin and center co-director Don Moseley. They were not involved in the writing or editing of this story.​

Originally published in The DePaulia.

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