On cutting edge of Osama story, Carol Marin has a great news day
Monday was a red letter day for Carol Marin. One of those days, she says with absolute conviction, that real news people live for.
It began with her hosting 2½ hours of riveting morning radio on WGN-AM (720), and ended with her moderating two segments on WTTW-Channel 11’s Chicago Tonight.In between, the veteran journalist juggled her two otherjobs — as columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and political editor for NBC 5.
As it did for many of her peers around the world, the whole day revolved around the demise of Osama bin Laden and its aftermath.
Marin had been slated to fill in for midday host Mike McConnell on the Tribune Co.-owned news/talk station with substitute co-host Bill Moller. But their carefully planned list of topics and guests flew out the window when news about bin Laden broke late Sunday night. By 5am Monday, Marin and Moller made the decision with their WGN producers to wing it.
It turned out to be a coup for both the station and its listeners.
Marin was able to call on an A list of guests, including former White House advisor David Axelrod and former CBS News anchorman Dan Rather. She also was able to call on her personal experience as an eyewitness to the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and her visit to Afghanistan three months later as a correspondent for 60 Minutes II.Her recollections were perceptive and poignant. At one point, Moller told listeners, Marin was practically shaking as she recounted her 9/11 ordeal.
“Any day when you have to drop the playbook and just reach into your own news experience is a great day,” she later told me. “Any day you can be on the cutting edge of breaking news is a great day.”
Just as it was purely by chance that she found herself in New York on that Tuesday morning nearly 10 years ago, Marin said it was simply lucky that she’d agreed to fill in on WGN Monday.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better day,” she said. “It was an important day in journalism, so it was a great day to be there in an interactive venue like that. It was a real kick to do it.”