Theresa Marchetta, a well-known investigative reporter and news anchor for Channel 7 News, has good advice for young journalists on how to excel in the field, and, more generally, in terms of the most important aspects of being a reporter.
Marchetta graduated from the University of California, San Diego, with her BA in mass communication and media studies. Marchetta is a news anchor on The Now at 4 p.m. through the Denver Channel; she has also been an anchor and investigative reporter for 7 News for the past 14 years, and is an adjunct professor at Johnson & Wales University.
Marchetta has been awarded an Emmy for Best News Anchor two times and has been named Best Anchor in Westword and 5280 Magazine. Marchetta was also awarded the journalistic enterprise Emmy, and was recognized for that same award, from the Colorado Broadcasters Association. Marchetta has also received that Arizona Associated Press Award and the Kaiser Permanente “Thrive Award” by the Colorado Association of Black Journalists for health reporting.
Though Marchetta has been in the industry for over 14 years, and has received multiple awards and praise, she was not originally planning to become an investigative reporter.
“I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do when I was in college, because I had a lot of interests that were related. I feel relaxed and comfortable in front of people, and I think that, combined with kind of a sense of right and wrong, social justice, empowering people, and wanting to do bigger things, made me decide to become an investigative reporter,” said Marchetta.
Marchetta’s drive to expose those who are taking advantage of others has led her to write many articles that have exposed the wrong-doers in our society. Some examples include a story on Western State University professor Daniel Cress, who was arrested on charges of Internet luring a child.
Not only has Marchetta exposed many people for wrongdoing throughout her career, but she says it is what drives her to be a journalist.
“For me, it was about utilizing the power of media and the power of television and now other platforms, to expose things that need to be exposed. There is no checks and balances for local, state, and federal government, except the media,” she said.
However, as serious as Marchetta seemed in a phone interview conducted recently, her voice contains a lightheartedness that builds trust and makes people want to continue to talk to her. This is a characteristic she stresses is incredibly important to have as a reporter.
“Developing sources is important and relationships are important,” Marchetta explained. “You never want to mislead anyone. You need to be honest about what you’re trying to learn about and why.”
Marchetta also stressed that entry-level journalists should read as much literature as they can, and watch the way other journalists are doing their jobs, even online journalists, in order to be successful later on in the field.
“Really read as much as you can, right now,” she suggested. “There’s so many really really good journalists, especially online. And look at the way that news journalists are doing their jobs.”
Marchetta also suggests that aspiring journalists should not shy away from stories that you may have a strong opinion about.
“I would look at it as a challenge. You can’t deny being a human being and having feelings, but you absolutely must be objective or you will not turn good stories, you just won’t,” she said.
“And being objective does not mean not having feelings, being objective simply means getting all sides and all facts and exhausting every avenue and every lead and every resource. That’s all it means. It doesn’t mean you don’t have feelings or emotions on a topic, it just means that you don’t let those feelings or emotions get in the way of the facts you’re presenting,” she added.
However, Marchetta explained that her job of being an investigative reporter and news anchor is not always easy, and that many young professionals go into the industry expecting to just be on television.
“I feel like the hardest thing about my job is being myself, and I think for a lot of people, you know, it’s not about performing so much, you have to have a sense about why you’re doing what you’re doing, it can’t be about being on television or you’re going to be disappointed.”
In the end, Marchetta constantly hit on the idea that being a good investigative journalist and reporter means understanding the underlying idea of empowering people, and providing the checks and balances for organizations that do not seem to have any.
“Empowering people everyday with the information that they need to live their lives and to make good choices for their lives. So for me, it’s about wanting to have a greater purpose and utilizing the medium for that purpose.”