Covering Coronavirus: Tips, best practices and programs

Introducing the Class of 2020: Mark Satter

The National Press Club Journalism Institute is spotlighting the next generation of journalists, students graduating from college or Master’s programs this spring into a challenging job market, in hopes they’ll meet future bosses and colleagues here who will reach out and support them in building journalism’s future together. 

Name: Mark Satter

School: Northwestern University, Medill School of Journalism

Location: Washington, D.C.

Currently: White House pool reporter for Bloomberg News

Bylines: Military Times, The Dallas Morning News, MarketWatch, Military.com, STAT News

What have you learned from your involvement with student media on your campus?

Satter: Always be hustling. If you’re not being productive, one of your classmates definitely is.

What have you learned from your internship experience(s)?

Satter: A willingness to learn and adapt go a long way. The ability to digest feedback and adjust accordingly is one of the best ways to grow as a reporter.

What’s been your best moment in journalism?

Satter: Last year, my childhood friend Lt. Conor McDowell was killed in a training accident at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California. Conor died when his vehicle rolled over into a ditch that was obscured by tall, overgrown grass. The accident was just one in a string of rollover deaths during training that year. 

This year, I broke a story for Marine Corps Times that found that the Government Accountability Office had opened an investigation into the Marine Corps regarding the training deaths. Though difficult, reporting the story gave me a strong sense of purpose. It maybe wasn’t my best moment in journalism, but it was one of the most impactful.

What’s the wackiest story you’ve worked on? 

Satter: My first job out of college was as a reporter in Kyiv, Ukraine for an outlet called The Ukraine Business Journal. While there, I covered the hostile takeover of a luxury gym by political operatives. That was a weird one. 

What do you want to accomplish in your journalism career?

Satter: Along with telling impactful stories, I would like to rebuild some of the trust in the media that has been lost.

In January, I covered a pro-gun rally in Richmond, Virginia. In the week leading up to the rally, news coverage predicted that the event would be violent. Reports said a “sense of crisis was enveloping Virginia’s capital,” and that “white supremacists were swarming the area by the thousands.”

The reality was different. It was true that everyone was heavily armed – but you might expect that at a pro-gun rally. And some far-right provocateurs, like the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, were in the crowd. But the event was peaceful, and the attendees generally friendly. 

What was palpable, though, was a distrust of the press from protestors. People that I spoke with told me that they doubted that I would represent them fairly in my reporting, as news reports had called them all white supremacists for the past week. Most of them were average Americans, protesting proposed firearm regulations. 

I wrote a column about my experience for the Dallas Morning News

If you could meet any journalist and ask for her/his advice, who would it be and why?

Satter: Anna Politkovskaya, of Novaya Gazeta in Moscow, who was well known for her coverage of human rights abuses by the Russian military in Chechnya. 

Politkovskaya was a fearless reporter, and I would have loved to talk to her about finding the courage to operate in a society with almost zero press freedom. She was murdered in 2006.

What do you want potential employers to know about you?

Satter: I try to contextualize my reporting, and consider how what I’m covering fits into the bigger picture.

When you aren’t practicing journalism, how do you spend your time?

Satter: These days I can be found riding my bike, cooking and binge-watching “Ozark” on Netflix. I’m hoping to expand that list once life returns to normal.

If you’re a senior studying journalism, or know one, we’re accepting information here for students to feature in the future. If you’re a supporter, you can contribute here to scholarships for journalism students.