September 4, 2001
Life beyond the byline
By Eric Rangus firstname.lastname@example.org
What are the two most common misconceptions about journalism?
Catherine Manegold, Cox Professor of Journalism, didnt hesitate.
Fame and money, she said with a knowing grin, gleaned from
more than 20 years in the business, crisscrossing the globe from New York
to New Delhi, Philadelphia to the Philippines, the Gulf War to the Eastern
I really think journalism is a profession of service. If you examine
it closely, the best journalism has always some out of this sense of service,
not a desperate scramble after fame and money.
She was part of the New York Times team honored with a Pulitzer
in 1994 for coverage of another bombingthe World Trade Center.
But now, after two decades as a reporter, Manegold decided to embark
on a new career: journalism professor.
For me, its an opportunity to serve a profession Ive
really loved, Manegold said. I truly adored being a reporter,
and I adored the profession, but I think right now its quite troubled.
So, when I project ahead to my work in the classroom, my goallike
any teachers goalis to inspire people to go out and practice
not just adequate but great journalism because I think its badly
Emory is a bit of an interesting choice for a reporter with Manegolds
lengthy resume. But she said the Universitys low-key, still-growing
program was one of its appeals.
I found it really appealing that Emorys is a smaller program,
Manegold said. And I like the fact that it is fairly new and still
growing. [The program is] very much about serious reporting and writing
and doesnt also have to handle the components of publicity, advertising
and PRThings that are often packaged in [journalism programs], but
are not of particular passion to me.
For many years, Manegolds passion lay in covering foreign news.
Like many young reporters, Manegold started small, beginning her career
at a small daily in Easton, Md., on the Upper Eastern Shore. After taking
some time off to attend art school (not immune to quirky career tangents,
Manegold also worked as a crabber while researching a book), she moved
to a paper in Levittown, Penn., then on to the Inquirer.
After doing a few turns in the papers suburban bureaus, Manegold
was promoted to Southeast Asia bureau chief. Then she boarded a plane
and jetted to New Delhi, India.
Writers who cover foreign beats are some of the hardest working. They
rarely receive assignments from home and instead develop practically all
of their own ideas. Manegold, in fact, took the initiative and moved the
Inquirers bureau (which was just her, basically) from India to Philippines,
setting up shop in Manila. That was 1986, and President Ferdinand Marcos
had just been overthrown. Manila was where the news was.
It was an exceptional time all over Asia, she said. They
were wonderful times for me. I loved it.
I never, ever thought Id be a war correspondent, she
said, describing the experience as exciting. She added that most every
conflict she covered involved an uprising of people who wanted access
to things like democracythat type of radical change makes the blood
flow just a bit more quickly.
When people go to war, theyve been pushed to such extremes
that it is truly an extraordinary human story, she said.
Manegold moved to The New York Times in 1992, where she was a general assignment reporter.
Soon after, she was assigned to the Shannon Faulkner case. For those unfamiliar, Faulkner sued what was then the all-male public military college, The Citadel. It had admitted the South Carolina teenager as a freshman, then rescinded the invitation once the administration learned she was female.
The case dragged on for years until she was finally admitted in 1995.
After one week she dropped out, but her legacy remained. Women now attend
While she covered the litany of court cases surrounding the trial for
the newspaper, Manegolds instincts told her that a much deeper story
lay beneath the surface. She spent much of the next five years digging
The book that came out of Manegolds research, In Glorys
Shadow, was published last year and made the Los Angeles Times
list of best nonfiction books of the year. The 330-page volume not only
interweaves the history of The Citadel with the Faulkner battle of the
1990s, but also places the evolution of the college within the context
not only of its Charleston, S.C., home, but of the nation itself. The
conflict between these often contradictory worlds is one of the books
I just thought there was a much bigger and ultimately much more
important historical story there than I could capture in daily journalism,
she said. Newspapers arent about history. Newspapers record
things as they happenits like history live. The book was a
way to integrate a contemporary story with where it came from.
After working on the book for the better part of four years, Manegold
was ready for a change. And that has what eventually brought her to Emory.
She hasnt given up book writing, though. She is working on not only
a novel, but also a childrens book. Manegold wrote her firstand
only previousnovel at the age of 20. It was a study on the change
of her native Eastern Shore was changing from a rural, deep South enclave
to a more affluent vacation spot.
Manegold calculated that her latest moveto Decaturis her
29th since leaving college. Not a way to live ones life, she laughed,
but a method that appears to work for her. Journalists and writers, in
general, need an intellectual switch every few years Manegold said. Coming
to Emory represents just that type of change.
This is a very different community from those I have dealt with in the past, and I look forward to that, Manegold said. I think it will be a time of great personal growth.