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Eric Aasen '02 stands in the newsroom where he works

A solid foundation

Astronaut George “Pinky” Nelson was visiting a suburban Minneapolis school district, and two youngsters from each school were invited to attend his news conference.

Third-grader Eric Aasen got the nod, and he prepared at the library, researching the space program, before his father drove him to the event.

Aasen ’02 remembers reporting back to his classmates about Nelson and “going home that day, knowing without a doubt that I was going to be a journalist when I grew up.”

He never changed his mind, not after dabbling in radio and TV at DePauw before settling on print journalism. Not through six internships. And not through four years of working at The DePauw, including a yearlong stint as editor-in-chief, during which 9-11 happened, resulting in a special edition; The DePauw’s 150th anniversary occurred, prompting a 96-page tribute; the Rector Hall fire tossed him out of his residence but still got covered; and fraternity members, irked by a story, stole all 3,000 copies of the paper.

“When you write for such an intimate audience, you see these people. You are in class with them, or you are in the cafeteria with them; you will cross paths with them. And not that that means you need to soften the stories or the storytelling, but you have to really build up courage and a thick skin to withstand dirty looks, glares,” he said. “… Those experiences taught me a lot about life, about humanity, about journalism or fairness, about being thorough and complete.”

Aasen’s last internship developed into a full-time gig with the Dallas Morning News, where he stayed 11 years. He moved in 2013 to KERA, Dallas’s NPR television/PBS radio station, where he works as managing editor, overseeing a team of about 40 and doing work influenced by his time at The DePauw.

“Throughout the four years, I had endless experiences on real in-depth, original, rigorous reporting,” he said, “that built a solid foundation for what happened after DePauw and what has happened in the 20 years since.”

Editor’s note: After the spring issue went to print, we learned that Aasen left his job in Texas to become executive editor at the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network in Hartford. 

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