Category: GEMA, GEMA Alumni Spotlight

Title:GEMA Alumni Spotlight – Clare Malone (C’09), Staff Writer, The New Yorker

My current role is covering media and politics at The New Yorker. Because we’re a magazine, that basically means I have a lot of latitude in what I write about. I’ve written about the media business (ie, big Hollywood/entertainment companies) and more inside-baseball journalism stuff (what’s going on at the Washington Post/New York Times). Tips welcome! 

 

What was your first “big break”? Or, what is the most significant experience you have had that has made your success possible?

My first break was working as an assistant at a small political magazine in D.C. where people I looked up to took me seriously. When people you admire take you seriously, you take yourself more seriously, and work on the all-important confidence-building game. It was also good for teaching me the foundations of narrative journalism. My second break was my first full-time writing job at FiveThirtyEight. I also lucked out because I got to cover the Trump 2016 phenomenon which provided endless fodder.

What is the most challenging part of your job? What is the most rewarding part?

The most challenging part of my job is getting a story off the ground. What I mean by that is coming up with a great story idea and angle but also just figuring out who to talk to. Reporting is a lot of fun, but there can be some stress in the beginning when you’re reaching out to all sorts of people, trying to get them to talk. The most rewarding part of my job is the actual writing process—organizing your thoughts and the thoughts of others is satisfying, if incredibly hard a lot of the time.

What is something current you are working on that you are excited about?

I wish I could tell you something I’m currently working on that I’m excited about, but I can’t let someone else scoop me!

How is the ever-changing media landscape affecting your industry?

I cover the media so I’m always thinking about how it’s changing. Business-wise, that means, what models work? But then there’s also the civic considerations that come right alongside that: we know subscription businesses aimed at high-income, well-educated people are a pretty good business model. But doesn’t everyone need quality news? As regional news hollows out and partisanship maps itself onto national news outlets, there’s a real concern that the people who need quality news the most just aren’t getting it. I think about that a lot. And I also think about the sheer number of layoffs we’ve had of late. There’s a very human story there. It also worries me that it’s getting more and more difficult for journalists to live a middle class life in cities like New York and DC where a lot of the influential national outlets are based. It’s not great for media to be even more the domain of Ivy Leaguers.

Are there any ways that you feel Georgetown especially prepared you for your career?

Georgetown certainly prepared me for a career in political journalism—it’s helpful to know how to talk to people who think they’re going to become president. (I jest, but barely.) I also think a Jesuit education has a balance of analytical and empathetic that is a part of good journalism. I’m grateful for that moral foundation.

What is your best advice to those who are starting out in your field?

My best advice to people starting out in journalism is to learn how to talk to lots of different kinds of people—become good at having conversations, even with people you don’t agree with. And don’t let rejection take your conference away. Keep chugging.

Best Business Advice Received:

My father started his own business and he told me that all you really need to do that is a phone and a chair. Maybe you need a computer now! But basically, there’s a lot you can do if you have drive and discipline.

Trait You Most Admire in People:

The trait I most admire in people is kindness. Followed closely by straightforwardness.

Favorite App, Website, Podcast or Social Platform (other than related to your own company):

My favorite podcast right now is called “Serious Trouble.” It’s a very smart, funny weekly show tracking Trump’s legal troubles. Co-hosted by Josh Barro and Ken White, a former AUSA and current federal criminal defense lawyer.

Favorite Georgetown Professor:

I took a really amazing seminar on Milton and Paradise Lost with Jason Rosenblatt. Probably my favorite class.

Favorite Georgetown Restaurant or Bar:

My favorite Georgetown bar is the Tombs, just based on sheer number of hours spent there.

Favorite Georgetown Memory:

My favorite Georgetown memory is calling my older sister sometime in the first couple of months of freshman year and telling her I’d found the people I was *really* going to be friends with. Those women are still the friends I remain closest to—incredibly smart and kind people without pretensions.

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