Interview: Doug McGill (The McGill Report)

Interview: Doug McGill (The McGill Report)
25th March 2003, by Greg Tingle

How, when and why did you get involved in the media and web publishing business?

I've been a journalist for 26 years. My two biggest gigs were as a staff reporter at The New York Times, which I did from 1979 to 1989, and as a bureau chief for Bloomberg News, from 1992 to 1996. I got into the web side of things in 1999-2001 when I helped to start two web sites that published daily English-language news about China, China Online and Virtual China. They are both more or less defunct now.

How did you come up with the concept of the McGill Report?

I started it after 9/11. The motto -- "Media for Global Citizens" -- remains the same. I do the site out of the conviction that U.S. citizens don't get what the information and news they need to become good global citizens, from the mainstream press. I try to write stories that in some way helps that process of education.

What's your motivation in life, on a professional and
personnel level?

Professional: Be a good journalist. Personal: Connect meaningfully, and in a helping way, with the people around me each day.

What’s the biggest scoop or story you have worked on?

I suppose that would be at The New York Times in the middle 1980s. A few investigative stories I did back then led to very major changes in the laws concerning the art world in New York City and New York State.

Who were your mentors, if any, and what did you see in them?

In terms of the basic news business, The New York Times was my Harvard and Yale. My journalistic idols are the muckrakers -- I.F. Stone, George Seldes, Ida Tarbell, Jack Anderson.

What’s the best and worst thing about the business?

Best: Being a journalist is a license to ask as many questions as you want and it's okay. For a curious person, that's heaven. Worst: The herd instinct.

Who have you most enjoyed working with the most and why?

I've enjoyed every step pretty much equally.

Who would you never work for again, and why?

Can't think of a one.

What’s the most horrific thing you have ever seen?

Not sure how this applies to anything ...

How many visitors does your website attract?

Not very many.

How exactly do most people find out about your

Friends telling friends, and search engine searches.

What do you attribute most of your success to?

Am I successful?

What is the biggest compliment you have ever received?

Somebody told me once that I was a natural writer.

Have you ever received death threats? (answer only if comfortable to)

Yes. I did a story once about a cult in New York City that earned me a death threat. I left town for a couple of weeks.

What would you like me to tell others about you?

Tell them about The McGill Report and Global Citizen -- if they are interested in global citizenship, check them out.

What are your future plans?

Keep on trucking.

What special message do you have for Petersham TAFE, and in particular Greg Tingle's teachers and fellow students?

Nice to hear from you folks down under!

What else would you like to share with my readers?

Guess that's about it for now.

All the best,