Reporter Brenda Schory has been with the Kane County Chronicle longer than anyone else on the editorial staff.
She started with the paper in March 1993, though she did a brief stint at one other Shaw Media newspaper since then.
Schory answered questions for Local Editor Zachary Van Vuren about how media and reporting has changed during her time working as a newspaper reporter.
Van Vuren: What did you do for the Chronicle when you started?
Schory: I covered schools, parks and libraries for Batavia and Geneva. We were grouped into reporting teams, so I wasn’t the only one. I went to every single meeting … sometimes two in a night.
Van Vuren: How has reporting changed since you started?
Schory: I went to journalism school during Watergate. Basic reporting hasn’t changed. With the advent of social media, it should make it easier. … There is a level of instantaneous reporting. You can be live at the scene broadcasting it, and readers can obtain the story through social media.
Van Vuren: How do you feel about social media?
Schory: It’s another level of connection between the journalist and the readers. I still consider the public the readers.
Van Vuren: How did Watergate affect your reporting style?
Schory: When you go to journalism school in the Watergate era, you never trust anyone from the government, rather than regurgitate what an official tells you.
Van Vuren: When and where did you go to journalism school?
Schory: I went to Northern Illinois University. My degree is in journalism and English. I graduated in 1977. Back then, we called the computers video display terminals. They didn’t have them in the classrooms yet. They were at my first job, and they were just installed.
Van Vuren: What else has changed since you went to journalism school?
Schory: Nobody refers to me as lady reporter anymore. It was started in journalism school. The Society of Professional Journalists did not [initially] admit women as members. People would say, “There is a lady reporter here to see you,” as though this is an anomaly. There is a lot more equality now. … By the time I graduated, I joined the Society of Professional Journalists two weeks before graduation, so I could put it on my resume.
Van Vuren: What do you believe is the role of the media now?
Schory: It’s the same as it’s always been. It’s to tell people’s stories and be the government’s watch dog, or any agency that’s in power – whether it’s a charity, a nongovernmental body or a corporation. I think the goal is to get the to the truth, then to tell it.
Van Vuren: What’s been the most interesting story you’ve reported on?
Schory: The most dangerous one was at Lakeland, a newspaper chain in Lake County. I wrote about a corrupt police chief and his wife that was the juvenile officer. I received death threats, directly and indirectly from him. But he and his wife were indicted for theft and official misconduct.
Van Vuren: Any other interesting stories you’d like to share?
Schory: I did a "Face Time" interview with someone that found out she was her mother’s seventh child and was given up for adoption. She found all this family she didn’t know existed. All of the siblings didn’t even know the mother was pregnant.
Van Vuren: What is your favorite type of story?
Schory: I love to write about sewage, government, landfills and garbage, animals, people’s trauma and tragedies, and people who do good deeds. I like crime and courts. … The only thing I can’t do is sports.
Van Vuren: How do you feel about covering meetings?
Schory: When you cover a local meeting you’re at ground zero for democracy. We go to meetings so you don’t have to.