Behind the Stories: When Journalists Pivot into Politics

By Ryley McGin­nis, UConn Jour­nal­ism | May 9, 2019

Derek Slap, Mary Glass­man and Lon­nie Reed are three Con­necti­cut politi­cians who start­ed their careers in jour­nal­ism and made the switch to pol­i­tics. In this spe­cial ‘Behind the Sto­ries’ pod­cast, Slap, Glass­man and Reed out­line their moti­va­tions for going into jour­nal­ism, why they left the field for pol­i­tics, and how they think their careers in news pre­pared them for elect­ed office.

Pho­to cour­tesy of Derek Slap.

Slap, who got his degree in jour­nal­ism from Syra­cuse Uni­ver­si­ty,  won a Feb­ru­ary 2019 spe­cial elec­tion to the 5th dis­trict state sen­ate seat that rep­re­sents Burling­ton, West Hart­ford and parts of Bloom­field and Farm­ing­ton. He offers insights into how politi­cians and jour­nal­ists should be work togeth­er to fix the coun­try’s dis­trust­ful, par­ti­san divisions. 

Pho­to cour­tesy of Lon­nie Reed.

Lon­nie Reed earned a Mas­ter’s degree in jour­nal­ism from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton. Her polit­i­cal career just came to a close as she decid­ed not to run for a sixth term in 2018  rep­re­sent­ing Bran­ford as the 102nd Dis­trict State House Representative. 

Pho­to cour­tesy of Mary Glassman.

Final­ly, Mary Glass­man, a Uni­ver­si­ty of Con­necti­cut jour­nal­ism alum­na,  served as the First Select­man of Sims­bury, Con­necti­cut for 16 years. Both Glass­man and Reed echoed how impor­tant their jour­nal­ism edu­ca­tion was to their polit­i­cal careers and attribute much of their suc­cess to their jour­nal­ism education.

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TOP PHOTO: Con­necti­cut State Sen. Derek Slap, sec­ond from left, pos­es with his elec­tion staff dur­ing the first can­vas for his 2019 cam­paign. (Pho­to cour­tesy of Derek Slap)