'What qualifies you to be press secretary for the mayor of the third-largest city?'

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)

That's what 55-year-old Chuck Goudie -- "one of Chicago's toughest investigative reporters" -- asks 25-year-old Tarrah Cooper, who is Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's press secretary. The 2008 Missouri Journalism School graduate and former MTV intern "is beginning the job of a lifetime, even though she doesn't have much life time behind her," writes Goudie. (Cooper worked in the Department of Homeland Security public affairs office before joining Emanuel's team.) In his column for a suburban Chicago newspaper, Goudie lists the questions he sent Cooper and and never got answered, including:

• Does your youthfulness and lack of experience symbolize what seems to be administration focused on hiring managers under 35?

• Is there a set of written guidelines or protocols that you are working from in dealing with reporters and news organizations?

• How much will you be paid?

• What are your career aspirations?

Goudie also says that "it is interesting that the mayor's new press secretary felt no inhibition about displaying hundreds of personal photos on her public Facebook page, showing her partying with friends, in beach attire and at a slot machine."

Reaction in the comments section? Here's what "old lady 2205" writes:

Chuck, you sly old fox. What better way to start with the new mayoral administration than to go after the youngest and possibly most vulnerable staff member. This entire investigation must have taken you 45 minutes to an hour, including writing the article.
I really expect better of you.

  • Jim Romenesko

    From 1999 to 2011, Jim Romenesko maintained the Romenesko page for the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based non-profit school for journalists. Poynter hired him in August of 1999, after seeing his MediaGossip.com, a hobby site he started in May of 1999.


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