Moritz Alumna Erin Moriarty '77 Gives OSU Commencement Address
As a young attorney in Columbus who believed media exposure might attract clients, Erin Moriarty became co-host of a local television magazine program. The attention she attracted led instead to news reporting jobs in Cleveland, Chicago, and Baltimore. In less than ten years out of law school, she was contributing to "CBS This Morning" and the "CBS Evening News with Dan Rather." She moved to "48 Hours" in 1990.
Erin drew from these experiences as she offered advice to OSU's newest graduates. To demonstrate that failure is sometimes success in disguise, Erin shared a story from her days as a reporter in Baltimore. "Oprah Winfrey was an anchorwoman at the same station . . . but she wasn't a good anchorwoman. The problem she had was a serious handicap. She'd cry at some of the sad stories and the local news is 99 percent sad stories. After she did a few too many newscasts like that, the news director took her off the news. She was devastated. As a consolation prize, he gave her a morning talk show and we all know how that turned out."
Erin encouraged graduates to "try anything and everything until you find the job that is a perfect fit with your skills and personality." She said, "When I started law school, I was sure I wanted to be a litigator trying cases. But I found my true passion covering cases."
The high profile cases she covers dominate the headlines. Her exclusive interview with Stephen Jones, defense attorney for convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, was broadcast on "60 Minutes." She has interviewed the parents of JonBenet Ramsey who was found slain in the basement of their Bolder, Colorado home, and investigated both the mysterious death of Italian billionaire Edmond Safra and the escape of the convicted perpetrator, his American male nurse. Erin is currently covering the trial of Scott Peterson, accused of murdering his wife and unborn son. Drawing on her legal background, Erin's stories have exposed corruption, challenged convictions, and explored unsolved crimes. Her work has earned nine national Emmy Awards, an Overseas Press Award, and a Consumer Media Service Award.
Despite a life full of "red eye" flights, scheduling conflicts, and deadlines, Erin has always found time for the Moritz College of Law. Over the years she has given Continuing Legal Education programs on media relations for lawyers, anchored a promotional video for the College, mentored graduates, and held media relations workshops for Moritz professors. She "walks the talk" of her final advice to each member of the class of 2004, "What I wish for you is to really live your life – and never forget where you came from." She is the quintessential Buckeye "paying forward" as she goes.
Erin is based in New York City where she lives with her attorney husband, Jim Musurca, and son Nicholas, home from his sophomore year of college.