Oak Park’s Own: My Q & A With David Mendell

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing a top journalist and author for whom I have the utmost respect, David Mendell.

We spoke for 45 minutes, non-stop, on a Scoville Park bench for an upcoming segment of “Oak Park’s Own.” Produced by Joe Kreml, the village’s video production maestro, the segment is the third one that I have hosted for broadcast on the local cable television Channel 6 here in Oak Park, Ill.

I first met Mendell in January 2008, shortly after reading his wonderfully reported, even-handed book on Barack Obama, Obama: From Promise to Power. At that time, I was so fascinated by Mendell’s odyssey that I penned a profile on him for the Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest.

The piece, “Covering a Phenomenom,” is posted on my Inside Edge PR website. I also blogged about Mendell 10 months ago, on the evening of Obama’s election.

Among my questions today during taping at Scoville Park:

Does he plan to write another book on President Obama? What was the biggest price he paid in writing the book? Having left the Tribune 13 months ago, does he miss daily journalism?

I’ll let Mendell’s answers speak for themselves when the Q & A starts airing on Channel 6 and is posted online at the same time.

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Read It! Obama: From Promise To Power

It’s a few minutes past 10 p.m. on Election Day, it appears Barack Obama is about to vacate his seat as the junior U.S. Senator from Illinois, and I can only imagine what must be going through the mind of David Mendell.

He’s the author of Obama: From Promise To Power, a thoroughly balanced and thoughtfully written book that was published in August 2007.

In late-January 2008, I was pleased to meet Mendell for the first time, for a pre-arranged interview. At the time, Obama’s campaign was on the ropes and Hillary Clinton appeared to have the inside track on the Democratic nomination for president.

You can see the result of that meeting in a profile that I wrote for the Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest.

Since that bitterly cold winter night, Mendell and I have kept in touch by e-mail. So it was uncanny timing that, of all days, I’d bump into him this afternoon (almost literally, nearly tapping his parked car as I navigated into a parking spot in downtown Oak Park).

At this moment, as Obama stands at the center of the world’s attention, Mendell must be musing about the many times he was the only one following Obama around, during the early stages of his run for U.S. Senator only five years ago.

To anyone who wants to glean significant insight into our President-elect, and who would be intrigued to come alongside Mendell during those formative times in Obama’s rapid political ascent, I encourage you to dig into Obama: From Promise To Power.

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Oak Park’s Own: My Q & A With David Mendell