On Thursday afternoon, Mike Memoli – LA Times’ White House correspondent – conducted a question and answer session with Loyola students. He was both informative and entertaining as he discussed his work – following Hillary Clinton around during this election season and in the presidential election of 2008. Memoli acknowledges his fortune in his profession, and claims that he did not always fly alongside the candidates in today’s and prior presidential elections.
As a student at Loyola, Memoli intended to be a sports writer, focusing on baseball. He joined the sports section of Loyola’s newspaper, The Greyhound, where he was tasked to write about tennis. Knowing nothing about tennis, he declined the offer. At a meeting later on in the week, he discussed this decline with the editor of the sports section, and as he was finishing up, bumped into the editor of the news section. This is where politics began to spark Memoli’s interest.
After graduating from Loyola in 2004, Memoli began his career as an intern at Hotline in Washington D.C. where he covered politics of the state, including senators, governors, etc. He wanted to further explore presidential politics, so he took a job at NBC as a political reporter where he was assigned to follow a few important people: Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden.
He was hired by the LA Times for, as he jokes, his ability to use twitter. Keeping up with modern technology is key to understanding the way that the audience, the people, grasp news in an ever-changing world. At the LA Times, he literally follows candidates for election around – taking airplanes and buses with them along their campaign routes; highlighting key information that the candidate says; getting to know the candidate on a personal level.
Throughout his experiences – honing in on a topic of interest, stabilizing a career, switching jobs, working with such highly-ranked authorities – Memoli has taken away two phrases of advice, which he shared with current Loyola students.
- Be flexible – allow for things to happen in life that you did not plan; adapt to what comes your way.
- Specialization is key – be passionate about something and learn a lot about it so that you are informed on a topic of controversy in your field.