College Years

Gretchen graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she cut her journalistic teeth at the Mac Weekly, the college’s award-winning student newspaper. From there she apprenticed at the Associated Press in Minneapolis; she was let go after she misspelled the word “C-A-R-P” in a radio news story. Her trench-coated, beret-wearing, cigarette-smoking foreign correspondent dreams were looking pretty dim at that point, so she freelanced for a while at local newspapers, covering town meetings, house-hauntings, and parades, and served as radio room staff for the St. Paul Pioneer Press (she listened in on police radios and alerted staff photographers to hot stories).