Kristen Schorsch’s Reporting Journey
Chicago- Kristen Schorsch’s journey as a reporter has taken her across the Midwest and into the mountains of Colorado.
She grew up in Hoffman Estates, Illinois and went to college in Urbana-Champaign, IL. Her first reporting job was in Iowa City, Iowa, where she most notably covered the Iowa Caucuses. She is currently a reporter at Crain’s Chicago Business.
“I actually went into college thinking I would maybe be a doctor. I originally majored in English and took some chemistry and calculus and quickly found that I was not really great at science and high-level math,” explained Schorsch during a presentation to COMM 205 students on March 11, 2013.
Schorsch took a journalism class while at University of Illinois which peaked her interest in the field. “I always loved writing and was trying to find kind of a fit for it, I took a journalism class because I had a writing requirement anyways,” said Schorsch.
During her presentation, Ms. Schorsch reminisced about her experiences at the campus newspaper entitled the Daily Illini. She said, “I loved it, it was really intense, but I felt if I wanted to be a reporter, I should really learn what it is like to be a reporter.”
She believes that journalism students should really get involved in their student newspaper, “I would definitely encourage you to seek out your student newspaper. Just try it. You know it is difficult to get into because you know the first journalism story you write, I think I wrote about a library course. It is really difficult, you just kind of have to hone your craft, and people teach you and then you get into it.”
She also explained that during her time she participated in internships in the Chicago area. Schorsch interned at the Chicago Reporter magazine before her final year in college and also freelanced for the Pioneer Press during vacation time.
After graduating college with a journalism degree, she worked as a reporter for the Press- Citizen in Iowa City, Iowa home of the University of Iowa where she wrote stories regarding higher education. She explained the benefits of working at a small newspaper with less than 10 reporters. “ You really get to do everything. I don’t mean like photography and page layout, but I mean like the type of stories you do.”
For example, even though she mainly covered higher education, she also covered the Iowa Caucuses. During the caucuses she had ability to interview presidential contenders- Wesley Clark, and John Kerry and Howard Dean visited the offices of the Press-Citizen. Regarding being a reporter for a small newspaper while the national media was in town due to the caucuses, she said, “We were given access just as much” as compared to the national media.
Following her job in Iowa City she returned home to Chicago, working as a reporter for the SouthtownStar covering various communities for three years. She also covered crime. One big case she covered was about was about six women who were shopping in a Lane Bryant clothing store in Tinley Park. Five of them were killed and one survived. She continued her reporting about the incident even when she moved up to the Chicago Tribune.
She was a general assignment reporter at the Chicago Tribune. Schorsch explained with excitement that she would cover various topics and that anything could happen while she was a reporter there. One time, for example while on her way to work she was called and told to drive to O’Hare airport early in the morning to cover a story about the weather and other things happening at the airport.
While at the Chicago Tribune, Schorsch had the opportunity to expand the boundaries of her reporting and flew to Colorado for a story. She wrote an article entitled “Where Terrorists are their Neighbors” on November 25, 2009 referring to a town in Illinois named Thompson that was being considered for holding terrorist detainees in a prison.
While researching the topic she heard about a supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, where terrorists who had been involved in both World Trade Center attacks were incarcerated. She indicated that Florence had a bad economy prior to the opening of the supermax prison. She explained that people in town told her that “(the prison) really saved their town”.
She wrote articles about the possible impact that a prison capable of holding terrorists in Thompson could hold for the surrounding community.
She currently works at Crain’s Chicago Business magazine (a weekly magazine) and covers health care and the issues with regard to businesses. She has written articles about hospitals that have merged and she has also covered the Affordable Care Act. She explained that business professionals are the primary market of the magazine. She also explained that even though the magazine is printed weekly, articles are posted to the Internet daily.
“I just really love being a reporter and being able to help people.”