I’ve had an e-mail conversation the past few days with Carol Kleiman, the syndicated workplace columnist for the Chicago Tribune who recently retired. I posed a number of questions about her thoughts about workplace and labor reporting in business journalism. Here are some of her responses:
Q: How difficult was it initially to write about business issues for you?
A: If you mean employment issues, it wasnt hard at all. If you’re a good reporter and know how to ask questions and figure out whom to ask, it’s just another assignment. But as a columnist, I really cared about employment issues and employees.
Q: How did you learn about business and what the issues were in the workplace?
A: I read everything, I asked questions, I made trusted sourceds and lived the issues myself.
Q: Did you have any mentors, and how did they help you?
A: No. I was on my own. Some colleagues were helpful. But I for one always reached out to new hires or new people to the business staff and welcomed them and tried to mentor them. I also mentored a lot of people outsided of my own deparment and outside of the Tribune. A very rewarding experience–and a lot of wonderful friendships.
Q: How much of an audience was there initially for what you were writing about?
A:Women and minorities were always there but invisible. I brought them into the Tribune’s readership and coverage, much to the benefit of the Tribune.