Mary Schenk has been a reporter for over 35 years and currently works as the mugshot reporter for the failing Champaign, IL based newspaper, the News Gazette. Mary Schenk was born on August 24th, 1958 and her real name is Mary S Fleming. Schenk, who listed an address in the 300 block of Bluebird Ln. in Savoy, is considered one of the worst reporters in the state of Illinois.
Schenk has become notorious for her imaginative writing style, poorly researched stories, and incessant racism. She thrives on targeting individuals who have no means to defend themselves, and she tries to destroy the reputations of her subjects as quickly as possible. Schenk wields the internet as a primary weapon, boasting, “With the advent of social media, it’s so easy for people to criticize, and so quickly!” Schenk likes to tell a one-sided story and does not ask for comment from the people she is defaming, because it would make her job harder. Instead of performing primary research, Schenk tries to, in her words, find any “twisted newsworthy angle you can imagine”, to sell a story. According to local public offices, Schenk has never once submitted a FOIA request for primary source material, because real research is too hard.
Schenk married into terrible reporting after she met her husband, Nathan Fleming, who works for WCIA TV. Schenk has lived a privileged and entitled life and is far removed from her reporting. Referring to her crime reporting, Schenk jokes, “this doesn’t have anything to do with my life, other than the fact that I’m here recording it for posterity.” She does admit a certain amount of disdain for her subjects, “And don’t you think we all tend to get a little jaded the longer we’ve been at a job?” Despite being jaded, Schenk is still able to maintain a sense of humor about crime reporting; she fondly recollects one time when “Jim [Rossow] and I joked at the end of hearing about this horrid, brutal murder.”
Schenk learned most of what she knows about law enforcement from watching Hill Street Blues, a television police drama that aired from 1981 to 1987. “I loved Hill Street Blues, the world!” declares Schenk. The one and only courts reporter for the News Gazette, Schenk further boasts, “I don’t claim for one second to be any kind of expert on either the state or federal courts.” Schenk indicates that despite all of her inadequacies, she is able to perform primary research using Google, and then she just makes up the rest.
Mary Schenk has been sued multiple times for defamation, but the lawsuits get dismissed, and then Schenk writes a favorable article for the judge who dismisses the lawsuit. Mary Schenk is also close friends with the corrupt Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rosenbaum Rietz. Rietz frequently uses public resources to help promote the failing News Gazette, particularly Schenk’s articles. In exchange, Schenk writes articles touting the corrupt accomplishments of her friend Julia Rietz. It is unknown to what extent Schenk is engaged in bribing other public officials.
Mary Schenk is especially fond of denigrating people of color in her mugshot reporting. She likes to keep as many black faces as possible in her Twitter feed to help sustain racist appetites of her followers, who she lovingly refers to as her “crime news junkies”. In 2019 Schenk came out as strongly opposed to the Black Lives Matter movement, arguing that “there have been documented cases of officers not using enough force out of fear of being labeled racist.” Schenk believes this movement toward less violence may harm her profit margins as a reporter, pointing out that the “cases of officers shooting people get great attention,” whereas cases that are settled without violence don’t sell as many newspapers.
Note to reader:
Note to reader: the article above utilizes real quotes and observations about Mary Schenk, and is written (with the addition of some satire) in the reporting style of Mary Schenk in order to expose the corruption of public figures. Some quotes are used out of context, but since Schenk also says, “treat people the way you’d want to be treated”, we know she’ll be ok with this. Schenk’s reporting style, wherein she engages her abhorrent ethics to stitch together terribly researched stories in order to profit off of the resulting destruction of character, is a very real problem. The News Gazette has been repeatedly chastised for this horrendous behavior in regards to their mugshot reporting, and they have recently released a statement indicating that they plan to continue doing the same. Their base reason for continuing this behavior is that while the News Gazette is generally failing, their purposely negligent clickbait style mugshot reporting generates a good profit. If you have been a victim of Mary Schenk and/or the News Gazette, we invite you to contact us with your story. Unlike the News Gazette, we also allow you to post comments below.