Northeastern University alumna Leslie Marshall, who earned her undergraduate degree in Communications with a Theatre minor, is a political analyst, nationally syndicated talk radio host, and Fox News contributor who lives by her mission to pursue the truth and relay facts to her audiences. Since graduating from Northeastern, Leslie has been completely immersed in the worlds of journalism, media, and politics, starting her broadcast career as a radio news reporter right here in Boston, and then working in radio and television all across the country – in Miami, Buffalo, Houston, Chicago, and San Francisco. Leslie became the youngest person ever to be nationally syndicated on radio when she replaced Tom Snyder on the ABC Satellite Radio Network, and she was the first woman to host an issues-oriented program nationwide. Now in Los Angeles, Leslie continues to wear many hats, and has dedicated her career to finding the latest stories and presenting them to her audiences in fresh, informed, and interesting ways. A self-proclaimed news and politics junky, she is passionate about what she does, and makes it one of her goals to expand people’s views and challenge them to consider new perspectives and ways of thinking.
“When I provide my commentary, I always try to think outside the box, and present facts that people have not heard yet,” she explained. “Listeners and viewers really do not want to hear the same liberal or conservative talking points over and over, so my job is to present the information in a way that may open people’s eyes to something new.”
Her radio show, The Leslie Marshall Show, airs five days a week, and as a Fox News contributor, she appears on television anywhere from twice to eight times a week, while also writing a blog for the Huffington Post. In today’s 24/7 news cycle and ever-evolving political climate, it likely comes as no surprised that there is never a dull moment for Leslie, who presents her analysis from a liberal, progressive point of view.
She spends a lot of time researching and of course, keeping up with all the latest headlines, which Leslie does by going through the wires, constantly looking at the Associated Press and The Hill, and staying in touch with what the local journalists are saying. She also looks at social media as a supplemental source of information. Regardless of where she finds and absorbs the latest stories, she fully researches each and every topic she speaks about on the air. Especially since, according to the Pew Research Center, 1 out of 4 Americans get their news from talk radio, and over half from TV, Leslie takes her responsibility to report only fully researched stories and facts very seriously.
“When I provide analysis, I am opining to a certain degree but everything I am saying is based on facts,” explained Leslie. “I am very much about the truth. I want to be truthful and honest, so I share how I feel and what I think based on these facts.”
She has been immersed in the journalism field for 30 years, and has witnessed plenty of change in the industry, namely the shifts that occurred after the Fairness Doctrine, a former federal policy requiring TV and radio broadcasters to present contrasting viewpoints on controversial issues, was repealed.
“When I first started out as a journalist and commentator, there were times I was hired simply because the source did not have a liberal viewpoint in their line-up,” Leslie explained. “The Fairness Doctrine required that the public was exposed to both sides of any story, and when this was repealed, I witnessed a certain divisiveness emerge. Journalists are supposed to report just the facts, but over time, that has changed and therefore the information that the audience receives has changed. There is not as much of a line in the sand about reporting the news and giving an opinion about the news. So now, when someone shares where they found an article or piece of information, before even knowing what the story is, you already have a preconceived notion about it and which way the story will lean.”
This is a shift in reporting and journalism that most everyone has witnessed at this point, but has motivated Leslie even further to stay true to the facts. Chasing and reporting the truth is her passion, and even though it is hard work, she refuses to cut corners when it comes to fully understanding and researching what she is commenting on and analyzing.
Despite her busy schedule, Leslie is still very much in touch with her Husky roots, and dedicates time to give back to the school, speaking to current students and attending alumni functions. She continues to foster the long-lasting relationships and networks she made as a student – and the reason she does so is because she believes in Northeastern, based on the meaningful experience she had here.
“When I was first looking at colleges, I knew I wanted to be in the city, and the co-op program at Northeastern was appealing because it could supplement tuition,” she said. “As a prospective student, still in high school, I stopped by the Communications Department and was met with a personalized experience that really impressed me. Professor Michael Woodnick invited me into his office, offered me half of his lunch, and took time out of his day to speak with me. I immediately knew I was not just a number, and honestly, that meeting made it for me.”
A short time later, once Leslie was on-campus as a student, she knew she had made the right choice. She embraced both her classroom learnings and the ability to start working, as a co-op and work-study. She worked in various departments across campus, as well as in the Public Relations Department at the Wang Theater.
“My co-op taught me valuable lessons about business and it taught me about life, which transcends every industry,” she said. “Real life simply cannot be taught in the classroom, and with co-op, you get a head-start on other people. When you graduate, you already have that real-life and hands-on experience and know about the types of responsibility that can only be taught by throwing someone right into the water.”
As a Communications major, on co-op, Leslie learned valuable skills like how to write a press release, how to be an assistant to the top executives (and how to eventually become that top person!), how to work on a team, and how to be a self-starter – all crucial workplace knowledge.
“On co-op, you learn things and make connections and if you play your cards right, you can go back again and again, and build a path to employment,” Leslie concluded. “When I graduated, I had a lot of confidence and knowledge, because I had already experienced some of the realities of life.”
This confidence and knowledge helped her launch her successful career – and go on to receive a Master of Science in Broadcast Journalism from Emerson College.
Leslie was recently awarded the AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) “Excellence in Journalism” award, and fulfilled one of her dreams of doing a TedxTalk, in which she shared her personal experience on “how Americans view Islam.” She also recently shared some of her expertise in an article featuring 59 Women in Journalism, in celebration of International Women’s Day.
Follow Leslie on Twitter here.