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Dave Greising '82 runs the Better Government Association in Chicago

A watchdog

Close to graduation from DePauw, David Greising ’82 deferred his law school acceptance for a year, “thinking I would get journalism out of my system.

“And I never got journalism out of my system.”

Indeed, Greising has been the quintessential Chicago journalist, starting at the City News Bureau and fashioning a business reporting and column-writing career that led him to the Chicago Sun-Times, BusinessWeek, the Chicago Tribune and Reuters New Agency. He has written three business books (and, with his wife Cynthia Hedges Greising ’82, a children’s book), including one that gave him the bug to create a startup, the short-lived Chicago News Cooperative, to produce a Chicago news section for the New York Times.

Since March 2018, he has been president and chief executive officer of the Better Government Association, a nonprofit journalism and government watchdog group that frequently teams with the Tribune and the Sun-Times to produce news stories. The Robert R. McCormick Foundation recently gave $10 million to advance the association’s work.

Greising’s head was turned toward journalism during his senior year spring term, when he was editor-in-chief at The DePauw. Faculty fury erupted over a plan to confer a disputed honorary degree, and the university president retroactively declared the meeting off the record.

“When he called me and told me that we were not to publish any stories about it, I let him know that we were independent of the university and ... we’re going to publish. And that was the point at which I felt, wow, I really like this and I would like to continue doing this.”

The same president later ordered student media not to publish another story. The radio station complied, causing two of its reporters to quit and go to work at The DePauw, which published the story.

“We had two great stories during my semester as editor, and so that's the point at which I decided to go into journalism. …

“I look back on The DePauw as teaching me the basic rudiments of journalism, teaching me the ethics of journalism, teaching me what news judgment means, what writing for readers who are not obligated to read what you write means, to write in a way that is engaging for the reader,” he said. “… Everything I’ve done in journalism over the years you can trace back one way or another to the basics that I learned working on The DePauw.”

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