Behind a Monday profile story

by
Martin Nesbitt profile

Melissa Harris, the Chicago Tribune business columnist, writes about why she decided to profile Chicago businessman Marty Nesbitt, a friend of President Barack Obama.

Harris writes, “At a TribU class on current events Monday night, a participant asked why I chose to write a profile on ‘first friend’ Marty Nesbitt, and why it ran in Monday’s paper — which was inauguration day. Was picking the subject politically motivated?

“Not on our part, though there were several compelling news reasons to profile Nesbitt.

“He’s the president’s best friend by the president’s own account. The president is often criticized for being a loner, yet Nesbitt visits the White House and campaigned with the president frequently.

“He’s also a well-regarded Chicago businessman whose connections helped catapult the president into office. For instance, he introduced Barack Obama to Penny Pritzker, Nesbitt’s former boss. Nesbitt later asked her to lead the president’s 2008 fundraising effort, a role which Pritzker performed masterfully.

“I had intended to write the story sooner — and actually started over the summer — but for a variety of reasons, it came together later. Nevertheless, it seemed to dovetail nicely with Monday’s inauguration.”

Read more here.