J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication Award Recipients
Journalism By-Line Award
GREG KOT, JOUR '78
Want to know what you should be listening to? Greg is your guy.
For more than two decades, he has been the music critic at The Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts Sound Opinions, a rock talk show that airs on more than 100 radio stations nationwide.
“I wake up every day knowing that I’m going to learn something new at my job,” he says. “My primary goal professionally has always been to make sure that I have that feeling every day.”
Greg has written several books, including Wilco: Learning How to Die; Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music; and the forthcoming I’ll Take You There: Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers and the March up Freedom’s Highway. His writing has also appeared everywhere from Rolling Stone to Entertainment Weekly to Encyclopedia Britannica.
“Music and writing — what’s not to love?” Greg says. “That I get paid to put them together is something I never take for granted.”
He still remembers late nights laboring over The Marquette Tribune and the professors who he says made him into a journalist.
“The ever-motivational Dr. John Vivian boomed out, ‘So you want to be a journalist?’ on the first day of J-school and scared the heck out of all of us,” Greg recalls. “Dr. Ethel Gintoft challenged me to be a better writer and introduced me to New Journalism. And I’ll always remember my first ‘fail’ from the late, great Dr. Marian Pehowski. She ripped apart my review of a Ramones album in her arts criticism class and made me realize I wasn’t all that. She was right. Thanks, Dr. P.”
In his spare time, Greg is a youth basketball coach and helps run Over the Edge, a basketball program for grade schoolers in Chicago.
Get to Know: Greg Kot
Hometown: Syracuse, N.Y.
Favorite book: Mystery Train by Greil Marcus
Someone past or present he’d like to have dinner with: Jack Kerouac, Iggy Pop
Favorite Marquette memory: Hanging out in the basement of Johnston Hall with his friends and fellow journalism fanatics, cranking music and solving the world’s problems after they put another edition of the Marquette Tribune to bed.
Most influential in Greg’s life: His father, a smart guy with many interests, a quiet role model and great adviser.