Mary C. Curtis, Columnist: Congressional Quarterly Roll Call

On this episode, Mark Simon is joined by Mary C Curtis. Mary is a longtime reporter and editor, and now columnist for Congressional Quarterly Roll Call – covering the intersection of politics, race and culture.

Mary is also a senior facilitator at The Op-Ed Project, a group that mentors people (mostly women) to share their stories and be thought leaders. She has 40 years in an NABJ Hall-of-Fame career in journalism to draw upon, including time as an editor at The New York Times and Baltimore Sun.

Mary talked about her journalism origin story – as a lifelong observer of people. She explained her column writing – where she gets her ideas and how she writes her ledes and her kickers. She also talked about the editing work she had done – and how she overcame misperceptions about her in newsrooms. And she explained the work she does for The Op-Ed Project.

Please share feedback on the show at [email protected] or on Twitter at @journalismpod. And you can visit Mark Simon’s website at

Trump’s gifts to journalists of color

By Jerry Ceppos

When I asked 24 top Washington journalists to write about their experiences covering the Trump Administration, I knew that I’d get some surprises.

For example, McKay Coppins of The Atlantic wrote about the terror campaign that Trump unleashed after disliking a story: “The sheer volume of the smear campaign was impressive. Scrolling down Breitbart’s home page yielded seven different stories related to my betrayal of ‘Mr. Trump.’’’

Mark Leibovich of The New York Times remembered President Trump hounding him for a profile in the Times Magazine. After it appeared, Trump told him, “You treated me very badly.”

Quint Forgey, a young reporter at POLITICO, asked, “Was it always like this?”

But the essays that bothered me most were from journalists of color.

It’s Time to Cover Black Women as the Norm and Not the “Other”

Though I’ve seen the way the media portray Black women evolve over time, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done exactly right — or at least with the complexity and nuance we deserve. I say we intentionally, though journalists are not supposed to be part of the story. But seeing — and not seeing — myself in the newspapers my family read and the television news shows we watched was what spurred me to choose the profession.

Or, maybe it was the reason the profession chose me.

Now, with Black women rising in visibility in fields from culture to politics, journalists are being tested in reporting on a group of Americans who have been, at turns, ignored and stereotyped. I have viewed the situation from the inside and outside.

SPJNE Zoom Series – Branden Hunter & Haisten Willis on Covering George Floyd Protests

The New England PRO Chapter hosted a discussion with Detroit Free Press reporter Branden Hunter and Washington Post freelancer Haisten Willis on covering protests on police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s killing. Moderated by Roll Call columnist Mary C. Curtis. Filmed on June 4, 2020.