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So You Want to Be a Reporter Podcast

​​​​​​​​​​​​​Want to get a head start on being a journalist?

In the podcast “So You Want to Be a Reporter,” award-winning reporter Carol Marin talks with recent DePaul journalism graduates and veteran reporters about their careers—covering triumphs, failures, indignities and everything else in between.

These conversations highlight the hidden challenges of working in a changing journalism industry, giving you a taste of what it really takes to be a reporter.

Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud to keep up with future episodes.

Latest Episode: How Reporters Take Care of Their Health After Covering Trauma

Veteran journalist Carol Marin interviews Block Club Chicago's Madison Savedra on the ongoing migrant crisis in Chicago and KCCI 8 News reporter Alyssa Gomez's experience covering a shooting in Iowa. Both share their insights on how young reporters can take car of their mental health after covering traumatic events. ​​

"So You Want to be a Reporter" is a project of DePaul University's Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence.  


Episode Archive

The Freedom of Information Act is something important to have in any journalist's toolkit. But for young journalists, filing a public records request and knowing what to ask can be intimidating. Rachel Hinton and Melody Mercado join host Carol Marin to talk about tips for FOIA and more. 

Earlier this month the DePaul Center for Journalism Integrity & Excellence hosted its annual FOIA Fellows conference. Rachel Hinton was a mentor at this year's event, she’s an enterprise reporter at the Better Government Association and a fellow with DePaul's Center for Journalism Integrity & Excellence. Melody Mercado was a fellow at this year's event. She is a reporter at Block Club Chicago, covering the Loop, River North, and the West Loop. Listen

Produced by Monique Mulima with music by Max Duggan. 

Released March 15, 2023


For young journalists it can be hard to write something on a deadline and make it stand out.  Rick Bragg is is someone who is very experienced in this. He has throughout his career been known for his descriptive style of writing. 

Rick Bragg is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and writer with decades of experience. He is also a writing professor in his beloved home state at the University of Alabama. Bragg joins host Carol Marin to talk about writing with color. Listen.

Produced by Monique Mulima with music by Max Duggan.

Released February 3, 2023

For journalists getting into broadcast there is a lot to consider, and for Black women in particular, their hair is one of these things. Marion Brooks, Sela Estill and Ariana Allen have had to think about how their identities and hair will be perceived. Marion Brooks is an anchor and investigative reporter at NBC5 Chicago with over 25 years of on-air journalism experience. Sela Estill and Ariana Allen are graduate journalism students at DePaul University. Brooks, Estill and Allen join host Carol Marin to talk about whether natural Black hair is accepted in newsrooms and why the industry should be more inclusive. Produced by Monique Mulima with music by Max Duggan. Listen.

Released February 2, 2023

What does it take to report on politics? Dana Kozlov and Eleni Demertzis are two people who know. Dana Kozlov is a political investigative reporter for CBS2 Chicago with over 30 years of journalism experience. Eleni Demertzis started her career as a journalist but now works as a strategist and spokesperson for the Illinois House Republicans. Kozlov and Demertzis join host Carol Marin to talk about the skills needed to cover politics and what young journalists need to know.

Produced by Monique Mulima with music by Max Duggan. Listen

Released Nov 28, 2022

When Tahera Rahman left college in search of a television news career, she made it clear that she would be wearing hijab. That was not easy in a post-9/11 world that warned her of the difficulties in employment and potential target it would put on her, but she preserved. On February 8, 2018, she went on-air on WHBF-TV in Rock Island, Ill., as the first full-time television reporter in America to wear hijab.

She joins Carol Marin for our season finale to share her story and what it is like for her to be a pioneer for Muslim women in front of the watchful — and sometimes judgmental — eyes of the nation. 

This episode is hosted by Carol Marin and produced by Justin Myers with music by Max Duggan. Listen

Released Jun 12, 2022

Bill Whitaker is known across the nation for his work as a reporter on 60 Minutes. Heidi Wigdahl is an alumna of the DePaul Documentary Program and currently works as a multimedia reporter at KARE 11 in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Both were recognized by DePaul's Center for Journalism Integrity & Excellence on April 28th at the Center's annual awards banquet.

In this episode, we revisit the remarks they gave at the banquet about the power of mentors in journalism and the challenges facing reporters today. Whitaker and Wigdahl are joined by former FCC chair Newton Minnow, who received the Center's distinguished mentor award.

This episode is hosted and produced by Justin Myers with music by Max Duggan. Listen

Released May 16, 2022

What is it like to report on the front lines of war? Jackie Spinner and Kevin Tibbles know that answer all too well.

Spinner previously served as the Baghdad bureau chief for the Washington Post during the Iraq War and would sleep with a helmet over her head amid bombings. Tibbles recently retired as a domestic and foreign correspondent for NBC. He was with NBC for more than 25 years and went to cover wars around the world.

Spinner and Tibbles join host Carol Marin to share what life as a war correspondent is like and what young journalists who may aspire to follow in their footsteps need to know. Produced by Justin Myers with music by Max Duggan. Listen

Released May 5, 2022

The episode that's all about the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). On March 3rd and 4th, DePaul's Center for Journalism Integrity & Excellence held its annual FOIA Fellows conference. Two of our fellows shared their experience with FOIA and the biggest takeaways for them.

Carol Marin and Don Moseley, the co-directors of the Center, also sat down to talk about their journey to FOIA the Laquan McDonald story and what it's like to train new journalists in the art of FOIA.

Hosted by Justin Myers with guests Carli Luca, Tim Spears, Carol Marin and Don Moseley and music by Max Duggan. Listen

Released Mar 11, 2022

Around us, stories of sadness, loss and devastation are everywhere. How do we as reporters even begin to cover events where trauma is abundant?

Emily Evans is a photojournalist at  WDRB in Louisville, Kentucky, who ran to the horrific aftermath of the tornadoes that swept through Mayfield, Kentucky. Joshua Short and Rachel Skytta are members of the news team at KDVR in Denver that covered the ravages of the Marshall Fire. The three of them join us to share their experiences and the lessons they learned. Listen

Released Jan 25, 2022

In 2017, the AP Stylebook approved the use of "they" as a singular pronoun to reflect the changing ways in which we use language to identify gender. For some, transitioning to a new, inclusive vocabulary has come naturally. For others, it has led to confusion and a struggle to keep up to date to ensure accurate coverage of those lying outside of the gender binary or those who do not identify as cisgender.

We are joined by Kelly Bauer from Block Club Chicago, Tuck Woodstock from Sylveon Counseling and Kelly McBride from Poynter to explore how journalists can be inclusive and respectful of the trans community and gender diversity in their reporting. This episode is hosted by Carol Marin and produced by Justin Myers with music by Max Duggan. Listen

Released December 02, 2021

The reemergence of Britney Spears on national headlines has led to new discussions over how we cover mental health in journalism. In this episode, the first in our new series of ethics discussions, we join these conversations to explore how journalists can better equip themselves to report on stories where mental health and trauma are at the forefront and how reporters can best tend to their own mental wellbeing in the field.

Joining us are Karen Hawkins, co-publisher and co-editor-in-chief of the Chicago Reader and founder of Rebellious Magazine for Women, and Haley BeMiller, state government and politics reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau. Hosted by Carol Marin and produced by Justin Myers with music by Max Duggan. Listen

Released Oct 12, 2021

Carol Marin and her class of journalism students at DePaul are joined by this year's Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence's Distinguished Journalists, Ron Magers and Jeremy Gorner, who field questions about nearly every aspect of the job. Listen

Released May 31, 2021

Retired longtime anchor and reporter Ron Magers and the Chicago Tribune's Jeremy Gorner were honored at this year's Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence awards ceremony hosted by Carol Marin. Hear what they had to say about working in journalism and the advice they offered to DePaul students. Listen

Released May 09, 2021

Carol Marin is joined by Maura Barrett and Rachel Hinton, two young reporters who have spent the early part of their careers covering politics at the local, state and national level. In this episode, the share their experiences on the beat so far and offer advice for young reporters who may want to follow in their footsteps. Listen

Released Mar 31, 2021

Carol Marin is joined by University of Alabama graduate Alessandra Pontbriand and DePaul alum Jakob Emerson who work together at the FOX affiliate in Springfield, Illinois. They discuss what they've learned while adapting to the unique challenges of becoming a professional reporter during a pandemic. Listen

Released Feb 07, 2021

Chicago Tribune City Hall reporter Greg Pratt found himself in Mayor Lori Lightfoot's crosshairs after a string of stories highlighting a lack of transparency in her administration. Inside the newsroom, Pratt also serves as the president of the Tribune union where he fights for the rights of his colleagues at the paper. Hear what he has to say about holding power to account on all fronts in this week's episode. Listen

Released Jan 20, 2021

Carol Marin is joined by two Chicago journalists whose careers have been defined by telling stories with a camera. First, Paul Nagaro looks back at his nearly 50 years behind the camera at NBC Chicago and shares the biggest lessons he's learned along the way. Then, recent DePaul graduate Jonathan Aguilar recounts the weeks and months immediately after his graduation in which he photographed the civil unrest following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Listen

Released Jan 03, 2021

First, Carol Marin speaks with ABC7 investigative reporter Chuck Goudie about his long career of interviewing sources and what he's learned along the way. She's then joined by DePaul alum Deni Kemper from Louisville's WLKY who talks about her experiences reporting on the police killing of Breonna Taylor and interviewing people in the community about the tragedy. Listen

Released Nov 09, 2020

Carol Marin is joined by WBEZ politics reporter Dave McKinney who spent over 20 years in print before diving into radio and DePaul journalism alum Melody Mercado who is now reporting for The Des Moines Register after spending her first year after graduation at a Des Moines television station. Listen

Released October 25, 2020

Carol Marin talks recent DePaul Journalism grads Kayla Molander, Jakob Emerson and Megan Stringer about how they've adapted their reporting to social distancing recommendation and advice to soon-to-be-graduates. Listen

Released April 21, 2020

How to report at the hyper local level by Center for Journalism Integrity & Excellence at DePaul University. Listen

Released February 10, 2020

Carol Marin talks with recent DePaul University grad Melody Mercado about covering the Iowa Caucuses in Des Moines, and DePaul's Senior Journalist in Residence Chris Bury about his time reporting on presidential elections for ABC. Bury and Mercado talk advice for young reporters covering a national election and what they learned while on the job. Listen

Released January 21, 2020

Carol Marin talks with former Chicago Sun-Times music critic Jim DeRogatis about his nearly two-decade investigation into sexual abuse allegations against R&B singer R. Kelly. Listen

Released December 12, 2019

Carol Marin talks with four women in Chicago media at the Center for Journalism Integrity & Excellence's Power 25 event, which honored Robert Feder's list of the 25 most powerful women in Chicago journalism. Hear from WGN and CLTV news director Jennifer Lyons, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Maudlyne Ihejirika, Sun-Times City Hall reporter Fran Spielman and Chicago Reader publisher Tracy Baim. Listen

Released November 18, 2019

Carol Marin talks with the Director of The New York Times Institute John Haskins about his career, advice for young journalists and tips for students applying to the institute. Listen

Released November 4, 2019

Carol Marin talks with DePaul journalism lecturer Amy Merrick about starting her career at The Wall Street Journal and DePaul alum Ariana Kraft about her first few months as a reporter in North Carolina—including her coverage of Hurricane Dorian. Listen

Released October 23, 2019

Dean Baquet and Lourdes Duarte talk with DePaul University journalism students about the state of journalism, career paths and more. Listen

Released July 2, 2019

Carol Marin talks with Adam Marshall (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press) about how reporters can use the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to hold government officials and agencies responsible. Listen

Released April 9, 2019

Marla Krause, the first woman in the sports section at the Chicago Tribune and faculty advisor for The DePaulia, and Chicago Tribune crime reporter Jeremy Gorner discuss the future of newspapers and offer advice to new journalists. Listen

Released January 14, 2019

Carol Marin talks to Nightline and ABC news reporter Chris Bury and the Chicago Sun-Times Editor in Chief Chris Fusco about the use of anonymous sources in news reporting. Listen

Released October 17, 2018

CBS Sunday Morning anchor Jane Pauley came to DePaul to receive the 2018 Distinguished Journalist Award from the Center for Journalism Integrity & Excellence. Carol Marin talks to Pauley about her career in front of a room of DePaul students, faculty and media. Listen

Released May 21, 2018

Carol Marin talks to PBS correspondent John Yang, who has worked as a professional journalist for nearly four decades, and Kelley Bowles, a recent graduate from DePaul's Journalism program who works in the Quad Cities at WHBF. Listen

Released Mar 27, 2018

Chicago journalist Carol Marin talks to two recent graduates from DePaul University's Journalism master's program, Lorraine Taylor and Dan Beedie, who are navigating the ins and outs of beginning their journalism careers. Listen

Released Feb 01, 2018