by CRAIG COLEY
As a foreign correspondent, Elaine Monaghan witnessed Northern Ireland’s 1998 Good Friday Agreement, covered the Kosovo War, and traveled with two U.S. secretaries of state. Today, she is a professor of practice at The Media School at Indiana University. “I never thought that I would find a job that I loved as much as being a journalist for Reuters,” Monaghan says, “and it turns out I find it right here in Bloomington.”
Reuters, for whom Monaghan worked from 1993 to 2002, is a wire service that distributes syndicated news as it breaks. “At Reuters I never had a deadline,” Monaghan says. “The deadline was always now.”
When news broke, Monaghan would call the office and dictate an 80-character “bulletin” to be sent over the wire. The practice was similar to the “insane online environment” that Monaghan prepares students to work in now. “Tweets to me are just another version of a bulletin,” she says. “It’s a lesson in how nothing changes.”
Monaghan, 52, grew up in rural southwest Scotland and went to the University of Glasgow to study languages. Between years of university, she lived in Berlin, where witnessing the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 triggered her interest in journalism. After graduation, she underwent an intensive training program by Reuters, which sent her to Moscow, where she got her first “scoop” by crawling between the legs of photographers to ask a question of President Boris Yeltsin.
Subsequent posts put her in Macedonia, Kosovo, and Dublin, Ireland. In 1999 she became Reuters’ U.S. State Department correspondent, and for three years traveled with secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell. She met her husband, Lee Feinstein, when he worked for Albright, though professional ethics prevented them from becoming romantically involved until Feinstein left the department. “Had George Bush not gotten elected,” Monaghan jokes, “we probably would not have gotten together, because Lee would have stayed on at the State Department.”
The couple married in 2003, and Monaghan began writing in longer form: magazine pieces for Congressional Quarterly and a column for The Times of London called Abroad in America—pun intended, she says.
In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Feinstein U.S. ambassador to Poland, and Monaghan stepped out of journalism. Feinstein was named founding dean of IU’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies in 2013 and Monaghan began teaching at The Media School two years later.
The couple have two children, ages 16 and 13, and between their family, their jobs, and everything going on in the nation and world, “there’s a long menu of things for us to talk about over dinner,” Monaghan says.