Nicole Weisensee Egan reflects on her journalism career and what it takes to be successful 


Media: Peter Galindez '23

Egan (left) talks about an article she wrote regarding the right to die.

When Nicole Weisensee Egan first started investigating Bill Cosby back in 2005, the world turned its back on her along with cutting her down and slandering the work that she had done, the work of attempting to prove that Cosby was not an innocent man. Fast forward to 2013, when the story resurfaced, and she is hailed as a hero. The job of a journalist is not one that is easy, but it is one that must be done. 

Journalist Egan visited the Hill School journalism class on March 31. While Egan is well-known for her work on the Cosby case, she has written and produced many new works. She is very proud of the work that she has done, and she commented on what it takes to be a successful journalist. 

“Do your research,” Egan said. She continued to mention how unprofessional it is to show up to an interview unprepared and how a little bit of research time outside of the interview can go a long way. 

She later commented on the style of work that she does. She naturally gravitates toward the subjects that were most raw and real, these being cases of sexual assault, kidnapping, and people who have had moving life events. 

When interviewing in these types of cases, Egan said to “ask the easy questions first.” It helps to make the people more comfortable, she elaborated. Before you even start the process of interviewing people, it helps to build a relationship as well. 

Egan demonstrated this in her interview with Tyler Clementi’s parents. After the tragedy of losing their son, the parents didn’t want to be interviewed. Egan simply built a relationship with them. After nearly a year and half of checking in on them and being a friend, she was the journalist who got the exclusive interview. 

One of the most difficult parts of Egan’s journalism career is to find good stories to report on. She brought up her best-selling story, the story of Brittany Maynard, which she said became the most viewed story in People magazine. Maynard was a terminally ill patient who decided to end her own life by moving to Oregon and using their “Death with Dignity” laws

Egan again got an exclusive interview with Maynard and wrote a piece that gained a lot of views. She credits the success of the story as it was something people wanted to read about and because Maynard was so young (29 years old). 

She concluded her questioning by saying how clouded the world of journalism has gotten. She mentioned how, in this confusing world, a reporter should only trust their own journalism work. 

Through her extensive experiences in the industry, Egan has strong confidence in her own reporting, a confidence that has been built through many years of successful and accurate stories, but she also mentioned she learned “not to trust other people’s reporting” and to “always check, double-check, and verify.”