Carol Marin has long been a pillar of Chicago journalism.
Marin, 72, has told the stories of the most vulnerable among us. She has investigated some of the city’s most notorious mobsters and most controversial politicians. And she’s received enough local and national awards to fill up a storage locker.
This week marks the end of Marin’s nearly five-decade long career in broadcast news (four of which were in Chicago), as she and her longtime producer Don Moseley, bow out of television journalism.
Since 2006, she’s been a host and moderator on “Chicago Tonight.” On Thursday, Marin joined Phil Ponce for her final interview on the program.
“I’ve seen too many people, really fine journalists and great people, stick around when they needed the hook. I want to give myself the hook before it gets to that,” Marin said. “I love what I do. I love where I do it. I wanna leave when I do love it, and I wanna leave when I think the work is still a proud example of decent journalism.”
Marin didn’t set out to become a reporter. Instead, she studied to be an English teacher. She taught for two years at Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville, Illinois. Marin was also a debate coach at the school (She debated in high school and in college at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.). This experience has proved helpful during the many debates and forums she has moderated throughout her career, she said.
“Debate is one of those things where you learn cross examination,” Marin said.
Marin didn’t enter journalism until she moved to Knoxville, Tennessee with her husband. She needed a job, and the local television station needed a talk show host.
One of Marin’s most well-known stories is about Guinevere Garcia, a woman on death row for murdering her husband. Years earlier, Garcia served time for killing her 11-month-old.
Marin’s reporting shed light on the harrowing abuse Garcia had suffered in her life. In 1996, hours before Garcia’s scheduled execution, then-Gov. Jim Edgar commuted Garcia’s death sentence because of Marin’s reporting.
“I’m proud of that work,” Marin said, though she doesn’t credit herself for saving Garcia’s live. “I still talk to Guin. I talk to her every weekend. She calls from prison. She will be there probably all of her life. She’s an extremely intelligent woman who was sexually abused from the time she was 7 by her uncle and her grandmother knew it.”
Marin announced in September that she would retire from her role as political editor at NBC 5 and at “Chicago Tonight” after the election.
Though Marin is exiting broadcast news, she isn’t leaving the industry entirely. Marin and Moseley will continue to work at DePaul University, where they are co-directors for the school’s Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence. There, they mentor the next generation of reporters.
Since founding the center in 2016, Marin and Moseley’s students have produced nine stories for “Chicago Tonight,” ranging from gambling in Illinois and sanctuary restaurants to private booting companies and period poverty. Most recently, her students reported on how Washington, Illinois coped during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
Marin and Moseley also have two books in the works, Marin said. One that they need to rewrite and another they’d like to begin.
Marin has never been one to have a five-year plan, she’s said. Instead, Marin knows it’s time for a change when she feels it in her gut. And after thinking it over for a long time, a change is what it was time for.
“We’ve seen people stay too long and they are no longer at the top of their game,” Marin said. “I wanted to do it my way. I wanted to pick my spot and that’s what I’m doing.”