Click HERE to check out Your Legal Lady, Mari Fagel, featured in this month’s alumni spotlight on the website for Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Thank you to Tommy Carroll at Northwestern for writing a nice feature about how and why I transitioned from traditional reporting into legal journalism and how my undergraduate and graduate degrees from the school helped me to establish my career. Go Wildcats! Reposting the profile below, you can also read it here:
Mari Fagel (BSJ09, MSJ10)
Mari Fagel, a BSJ09 and MSJ10 graduate, was employed the July after her graduation as an on-air reporter for NY1 News. She says getting the job was made possible by the strong resume she built while at Medill.
Fagel interned for NBC after her sophomore year in 2007 and was invited back the next year to help cover the action leading up to the 2008 presidential election. After some time spent covering news in Washington D.C. and urban politics in Chicago as a master’s degree student, Fagel says she had developed the writing, shooting and editing skills to be a well-qualified “one-man band” reporter.
Fagel covered many kinds of local news at NY1, but she says legal news stories interested her most. Coupled with her fond memories of law-oriented journalism and political science classes at Northwestern, Fagel said enjoyment of covering crimes and court proceedings made her want to become a legal analyst.
“In grad school I did a mock trial in [professor] Owen Youngman’s class,” Fagel says. “We were debating paywall, and I loved it. I got up there and I was arguing for the paywall and I was really exhilarated by it. When I was reporting it reminded me of how I enjoyed that experience, so I decided to combine journalism and law and see if I could make a career out of both.”
Now Fagel is leaving NY1 for UCLA Law School, but she’s already established an online identity as “Your Legal Lady.” It’s the name of the blog she started in November 2011 about high-profile crime and it also appears next to her name on the articles she contributes to Huffington Post and Yahoo News.
“I try to make what I write digestible,” Fagel says. “I thought the name [Your Legal Lady] would appeal to some people who thought legal news was over their heads.”
Fagel has a busy schedule—she co-hosts a weekly web show with Jon Leiberman (BSJ97), a former America’s Most Wanted correspondent, and contributes to Your Legal Rights, a Tuesday night program on WWRL 1600 AM radio in New York. She also spends time responding to her readers; she says she answered up to 50 legal questions a day on Twitter during the height of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky’s well-publicized trial. She did this all while also reporting news daily for NY1 and says she will continue her legal news analysis throughout law school.
“I definitely don’t want to give up journalism,” Fagel says. “I’m going to keep doing my blogging, webcast and radio show and when I’m done with school we’ll see where it takes me. I could do a mix of the two and practice [law] and just come on as an analyst, or I could go back into journalism as a reporter and host.”