Tag Archives: marin cogan

Marin Cogan On Political Reporting, Blogging, and Growing As a Journalist


“My first campaign was in 2012, and I did that for GQ, and it was essentially a blog. I was on the trail covering it every single day, multiple times a day. So I was trained pretty narrowly as a political reporter. But I always had this ambition to be a magazine features writer, and after 2012 I tried to lay the groundwork of doing features, about politics but also about other things. …

“After spending a year at GQ covering the campaign — I had gone there with the idea that I was going to be a daily blogger on the campaign trail and also write these great longform features. And guess what? It’s really hard to blog every day, and also write longform features. So at the end of the year I was sort of looking I was like, ‘Well this was great, but I didn’t write anything that was like a classic magazine feature.’ I freelanced for about eight months and I just use that time to really establish myself as someone who could do the features because, for one, I wanted to know that I could do it. But I also wanted to say to other people, ‘Here’s the kind of writer I am.'”

-On my latest episode of the Kill Fee podcast (iTunes), I spoke with journalist Marin Cogan about her early career, and how she navigates the world of politics, sports, and beyond.

The Death of the FCC Indecency Complaint

As society has reached a consensus that there’s no way to control everything children see, the number of indecency complaints has decreased significantly. When Miley Cyrus twerked at the Video Music Awards last summer, the FCC received only 161 complaints (of course, as a cable channel, MTV doesn’t answer to the commission anyway). The moment became fodder for celebrity bloggers and morning show chatterboxes but was never treated as a problem that needed to be legislated away. The PTC dutifully issued a statement denouncing MTV for “sexually exploiting young women,” but no national outcry resulted. Perhaps not coincidentally, CBS never actually paid a fine in connection with Nipplegate—an appeals court ruled in 2008 and again in 2011 that CBS could not be held liable for the actions of contracted performing artists and that the FCC had acted arbitrarily in enforcing indecency policies. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case in 2012.

So for [former Chairman of the FCC Michael] Powell, the halftime show represents “the last great moment” of a TV broadcast becoming a national controversy—the last primal scream of a public marching inexorably toward a new digital existence: “It might have been essentially the last gasp. Maybe that was why there was so much energy around it. The Internet was coming into being, it was intensifying. People wanted one last stand at the wall. It was going to break anyway. I think it broke.

“Is that all good? Probably not, but it’s not changeable either. We live in a new world, and that’s the way it is.

“They said the same thing when books became printed, right? They said it was the end of the world.

“But it wasn’t.”

Marin Cogan in ESPN Magazine (2014) on how the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII changed live television and American audiences.

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