Elizabeth Greiwe was sitting in the back of her dad’s car in Maine while her family was playing golf. She was on the phone with Loyola adjunct journalism professor Dodie Hofstetter, who also worked as the Voice of the People editor for the Chicago Tribune at the time. This phone call would end up becoming one of the most important moments in Greiwe’s career.
Hofstetter was looking for an editorial board internship candidate for Fall 2014. She called to interview Greiwe, 23, who said she had “somehow managed to keep [her] focus to impress Dodie” and get the internship. This position opened the door to a career in journalism for Greiwe, who still works for the Tribune’s editorial board today as an editor and designer.
“I forget how exciting it was,” Greiwe said. “I mean, the Tribune Tower packs a real wow factor, walking into that lobby with all those inspirational First Amendment quotes and freedom of the press quotes.”
Greiwe studied journalism at Loyola and graduated in 2015. Even though her love of writing began in fifth grade, she also had a passion for music.
When Greiwe was a sophomore at Loyola, she accepted that she didn’t want to be a performer. At this time, she was majoring in both music and advertising and public relations.
She said she also realized that while she still loved writing, public relations was not the right field for her.
“I hated the one-sidedness, which is weird because I work in opinion now, which is also very one-sided,” she said. “But I get to pick the side, I’m not being ordered to do a side.”
Greiwe began working as the Closer Look editor for the Loyola Phoenix and made the decision to switch her major to journalism.
While interning for the Tribune, an editorial board coordinator position opened.
“One of the board members encouraged me and he asked my now former boss if I could apply,” Greiwe said. “Former boss said yes, and after one super nerve-wracking interview in which I swore, and a couple torturous weeks, they told me I got the job.”
Since Greiwe was still a senior, the Tribune worked out a deal where she could work for 32 hours a week. Her responsibilities included answering people’s questions about editorials, taking complaints and attending weekly editorial board meetings.
“[At] editorial board meetings it’s like being at an intellectual debate and you just sit there and have nothing to add and you’re sort of terrified by all these impressive, smart people, which slowly you come to learn will respect your opinion too,” she said. “So it took me awhile to find a voice.”
This led to a difficult six months for Greiwe, who experienced anxiety while maintaining both her work and academics. She said her troubles improved once she began working full-time.
In November 2014, the Tribune faced a buyout, which led to a lot of experienced staff leaving their positions, including Hofstetter. Greiwe would often fill in for Hofstetter when needed and was promoted as the editor for the Voice of the People section.
“I spend most of my time editing and posting things online and whenever I get an idea, I can write,” she said. “That’s the most important thing to me, that I get the chance to write.”
When editorials are written for the Tribune, they are meant to reflect the opinion of the paper. The Tribune has a statement of principles that Greiwe said the editorial board must uphold. She said the paper tends to lean more conservative, although it doesn’t try to represent either political party.
“You can write things that go against your personal feelings sometimes, which I think is good because this isn’t Liz Greiwe speaking for the Chicago Tribune, this is the Chicago Tribune setting a tone for the city, being a voice for the city,” Greiwe said.
She said her success was made possible through the contacts she made at the School of Communication and that students should try to take part in extracurricular activities such as the Phoenix as they allow for more collaboration.
“Don’t box yourself in,” she said. “I really think it’s important to know that there are a ton of possibilities, you never know what you’re going to be happy in.”
By William Tolan