Shining a Light on Community Issues that Actually Matter with Discovery Institute’s Jonathan Choe

Shining a Light on Community Issues that Actually Matter with Discovery Institute’s Jonathan Choe

As a journalist for more than 20 years, Jonathan Choe’s passion lies in telling the stories that often go untold. In this episode, he takes us behind the scenes as a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and shares how his multi-media storytelling efforts bring insight and perspective to Seattle’s ongoing homeless crisis. He also talks about his very public exit from ABC’s Seattle affiliate KOMO after covering a Proud Boys rally, and how at the end of the day, all he can do as a journalist is shine a light on issues that matter to the community.



Rather read? Check below for the episode transcript!

Shining a Light on Community Issues that Actually Matter with Discovery Institute’s Jonathan Choe

Kathy Fowler: Welcome to After Deadline: The Media Podcast. I’m Kathy Fowler…

Marc Silverstein: …and I’m Marc Silverstein.

Kathy Fowler: We are former TV news reporters who turned to the dark side and now work as PR and marketing gurus.

Marc Silverstein: Get ready to have your mind blown because we have a very fascinating guest who is focusing on homelessness right now. Homelessness in Seattle is his one and only beat and what he has to say will really open your eyes. He has over 20 years of experience as a journalist. He’s currently a senior fellow and journalist at Discovery Institute and before that he found himself surrounded by controversy for his coverage of a highly politically charged event. A fascinating guy, we’re excited to welcome Jonathan Choe to the show.

Why do you think covering the homelessness crisis is so important?

Kathy Fowler: Jonathan, a journalist with the cause you work for Discovery Institute, covering the homeless crisis in Seattle and nationally, you’re a senior fellow at Discovery Institute, and you get to focus on under-reported issues that many media outlets are unable to cover. Why do you think this coverage is so important to you and how did you get involved in making sure that you’re able to dive deeper into some important issues?

Jonathan Choe: Yeah, it’s not only unable, it’s that they don’t want to cover it. So, those are the types of stories that have always intrigued me in my 20-plus year career. And for your audience who may not know, I’ve worked in mainstream media, at NBC, ABC, Fox, Tribune. I’ve been on air in Chicago, Minneapolis, my hometown of Boston, and now in Seattle.

Fast forward to now, we can get into my backstory a little bit later, but I’m here at Discovery Institute as a senior fellow and journalist. But forget about the titles, I’m this kid from Boston who barely got out of college. So, it’s kind of funny to think that I’m at a think tank to go more in-depth on these issues, but I am thankful because it’s probably the first time in my career where I’ve had this opportunity now to take deeper dives.

Look, you guys are former journalists, you know how long it takes to put an investigative piece together. It takes time, money, resources, and right now, with the state of journalism and consolidation, investigative units are being cut left and right. It’s about the daily grind, it’s about advertising, it’s about stories that are brand safe. 

And that basically means that hey, it won’t be that controversial, but it will at least fill the hole at 6 pm, at 5 pm, and 4 pm, and now 3 pm. So, there are more and more shows, fewer resources, but at the same time, journalists are now being asked to do way more with way less. 

I pretty much was on my way out anyway of this crazy mainstream media cycle that I’ve been in, so I’m really thankful I’ve been able to have this incredible soft landing at Discovery Institute to continue my work that I was doing anyway. 

Again, as I said, I like to touch the third rail, I like to be provocative, but it’s because I want to start these important conversations in our communities that are just not happening, quite frankly, for whatever reason.

This is like the most polarized time I’ve ever seen in this entire country, in my entire career. I’ve never seen it like this. Again, in Boston, I consider myself a JFK Democrat liberal, you know, where I watched lawmakers growing up in Boston, crossing the aisle, shaking hands, making deals, talking. I moved to Seattle, I’m lumped in now as a conservative Trump supporter. I mean, it’s crazy what’s gone on. It’s so extreme out here in the Pacific Northwest that it’s just so polarized. 

If you don’t agree with people, you get canceled, and I’m just so sick and tired of that. I’m sick and tired of people telling me what I can report on, what I can say. So, I’m in the best situation possible right now.

Marc Silverstein: I think you need to get emotional about it or worked up about it, stop sugarcoating it, and get to the point of passion.

What is the Discovery Institute? What are you allowed to do there that other reporters are not allowed to do?

Marc Silverstein: So, let’s go back a little bit. What is Discovery Institute? What does a senior fellow do, and then we’ll get to your main one? 

Kathy Fowler: Why are you allowed to do stuff there that the other reporters are not allowed to do? What’s different there?

Jonathan Choe: Well, first of all, you should talk to my president, because those are all questions for him. I’ve only been there for three and a half months, but all joking aside: Discovery Institute is a think tank that’s been in Seattle now for decades, quietly toiling away, putting out reports on interesting policy issues. 

Just in the past few years, they started this unit called Fix Homelessness. The website is, and that’s where you can primarily see my work.

When I ended up on the street after my time at KOMO, the president immediately reached out to me. Steve Burai, great guy, and he was looking for someone like me to join the team to continue the work on the homeless crisis not only in Seattle but across the country because frankly, there just aren’t that many people dedicated to the speed. That’s why they picked me up, and I had some opportunities to leave Seattle, maybe go back to Boston, New York, East Coast, get back into mainstream media. I was looking at some top 10 markets, you know how that hustle goes, but I’m like, why not just stay here for the next year? 

So, it’s a one-year fellowship, and again, I get to take deeper dives. I get to pull the PDRs, I guess, do investigative work. It’s not just about the daily grind, hitting my live shot at four, five, and six that I was doing at KOMO News.

Look, for the record, I have no ill will towards KOMO. It’s been four plus months now, and I love my colleagues. I still stay in touch there, but they’re now looking at my Twitter feed for story ideas. They’re now coming to me, asking me for my sources, so I still try to help. It’s really a collegial atmosphere in the Seattle market, but look, I don’t need to tell you guys. Just look at what’s being pumped out by the local mainstream affiliates in Seattle versus what we’re trying to do at Discovery Institute, and it’s night and day. 

Nobody’s doing what we’re doing at this point. I want to be very clear. There are people coming to the homeless crisis on the print side and the independent side, and that’s great, but what we’re really trying to focus on is the video-driven narrative. That is the key. Video doesn’t lie.

What have you discovered now that you’ve been able to take a deeper dive?

Kathy Fowler: So, what have you discovered now that you’ve been able to take a deeper dive? What are some of the most interesting things that you have learned and that you have shared with the people who are following you as a result of being able to do better reporting?

Jonathan Choe: Well, look, there’s a tremendous lack of accountability. Look, as you guys know journalists, we were at one point looked at as the fourth estate, the watchdogs in our communities, and that is in dire straits right now. We know about the great resignation. You have some of the best journalists who are quitting now or just retiring in these markets, like a dynamic market like Seattle, one of the fastest growing. It’s market number 11 when it comes to the TV side. It’s home to Microsoft, Amazon, all; it’s known as the Hollywood of video gaming, home to Nintendo, Pokemon. You have some of the most important companies here, most important storylines, and they’re just not being covered.

Anyway, getting back to your question about what have I been able to do here, well, I think what I’ve been able to do that I haven’t been able to do when it comes to the mainstream is have more time. It’s the time to go further into these stories and also build relationships and sources. 

I know a lot of times our viewers just look at the end result, the final product, but there is a process there, right? You know how the sausage is made. How many times have you guys been in situations where you just wanted to spend a little bit more time out on a story, hang out with a source, or stay overnight and get embedded somewhere? I’m able to do all those things.

So a story I recently broke, which is still shocking to me how the mainstream media here in Seattle is not covering the story, is that there are these Mutual Aid volunteers. They call themselves Stop The Sweep Seattle. It’s not quite a non-profit, but they’re a bunch of volunteers. They’ve mobilized on social media. They’re in places like Portland, and there are in other West Coast cities. What they’re trying to do is essentially stop the encampment removals that are happening at a furious pace in places like Seattle, San Francisco, and at times, in LA and so on and so forth.

A story that I uncovered because I followed pretty much every single encampment sweep in Seattle for the past two months is that the mayor has a new homelessness policy to clear encampments, but then encourage the homeless to take shelter and service options. What I uncovered is that the vast majority of the homeless are refusing shelter and service options, and what’s happening is that Stop The Sweep Seattle is shuttling the homeless who are refusing to other neighborhoods, creating the same problems for a new neighborhood.

Marc Silverstein: I was watching your stories. They come in, they move them out of this encampment, and then they just move down the street or over towards near Starbucks. I saw the Starbucks headquarters. They’re helping, but the homeless people were making the point that they can’t bring their cat or what the city’s offering isn’t sufficient enough, and so it’s just moving from one place to the other. They’re just reshuffling them.

Kathy Fowler: We also recognized that in LA, our daughter lives in LA, and we were there during COVID, and homelessness obviously spiked hugely. We went down an area that you could just Google, and it said Skid Row, and we went down this street. And then literally, three months, no, probably six months later, it was gone. It was literally somewhere else, and I was like, “Whoa, what happened?” There were hundreds of people in this one area, so this is not just happening in Seattle, it’s happening everywhere around the country, right?

Jonathan Choe: Let me be very clear. What’s happening in terms of moving the homeless from one neighborhood to another, there’s nothing illegal about that. That’s perfectly legal, but the problem and the controversy is that it’s undercutting the mayor’s policy to get the homeless off the streets and on this journey to finally get back really into society. 

What has been underreported in Seattle is that the deputy mayor, Tiffany Washington, is running point on the homeless response, and she said on the record at the end of May when they first announced this plan in Seattle that the reason they’re not publicly releasing the sweep schedule, you would think that’s reasonable, right? Neighbors want to know when their neighborhood is going to be cleared of all these tents. The deputy mayor said, “We’re not releasing the schedule because protesters have disrupted, and we want to get ahead of that and make sure they don’t show up.”

The problem is that a lot of these agencies that do outreach, that work in tandem with the county and city, they’re compromised. They’re leaking the schedule. Somebody is leaking the schedule to Stop The Sweep Seattle, so they’re there anyway. And this is happening.

So it’s this vicious cycle the city is now in, and there’s no end in sight. And again, getting back to the accountability piece, I’m hammering the mayor, I’m contacting the city council pretty much every single day. What is going on? What are you guys going to do about this? Are you just going to keep on just sweeping and just do it until this culture forms, or people just get tired of moving around? 

No response, but maybe that’s what they’re thinking, but I don’t know. This goes back to what is a reasonable expectation for the public from elected officials, these public servants, to get clear answers, and that’s what I’m trying to demand and get for neighbors, the community here in Seattle, through my reporting.

Why is there so much homelessness and what is the cause of it?

Marc Silverstein: Well, it’s an unfolding problem, though, as well. I mean, why is there so much homelessness, and then it’s become a red and blue issue? Why is it in sort of democratically run cities, or at least that’s what the MAGA types will have you believe? You know what’s the cause of it, and then maybe you can figure out how to deal with it. 

Jonathan Choe: That’s an age-old question, man. All I know is it’s biblical, right? I mean, it’s been homelessness, the poor, poverty, has been with us since the beginning of age. So, I don’t know what to tell you about that. At least, fast forward to now here in America, there are all kinds of reasons. 

I mean, look, depending on which lawmaker you ask, you’ll have folks saying it’s about affordable housing or the lack thereof. It’s about housing first. If we build more housing, we’re going to help the homeless get off the streets. We need millions, billions more dollars, okay? 

Then you’ll have another camp saying it’s the drugs, it’s the mental illness that’s the root of all of this.

Based on my reporting in the short amount of time I’ve been here in Seattle, I mean,  they may be the easy answer. Right now, it’s not necessarily something that may lead to immediate solutions. It’s a combination of all of the above. 

But what I’m seeing right now is really people out there. I’m out there every single day, and this is what I wasn’t able to do when I was in mainstream media, that’s to literally build relationships, friendships with these people who say they are choosing to be on the streets because they want to do the drugs. They have families to go back to, but so many families are showing tough love. They want their sons and daughters back so badly, but not as fentanyl addicts, right? 

So there’s these users are staying on the streets. It’s heartbreaking story after heartbreaking story. “We’re just gonna stay out here. We’ll take our chances. We gotta, we just love the drugs. Get off the drugs. It hurts so much.” I mean, these are the same talking points you’ve heard over and over from drug users. 

So in the meantime, what do we do as a culture, as a society? We just allow this? Do we just watch these people overdose? I mean, one of our Senators recently, Patty Murray, Democratic senator here in Washington testified recently saying that the police chief in Seattle, fire chief in Seattle told her that they’re seeing at least four overdoses every single week, four overdoses from illegal drugs like Fentanyl, and Percocets, all kind of Oxycodone. I mean, it’s just out of control, and we’re just watching, standing by, allowing this. That’s what blows my mind.

I don’t have the answers, guys. I’m just reporting on what I’m seeing, and this is the heartbreaking stuff. Now, as a citizen, what can I do? What do I do? So what I’ve also been doing is aside from reporting, I take off my journalist hat, and I’ve been trying to figure out how can I help this woman or this man, one person at a time, at least get started on this journey off the streets, off the drugs. And I think at this point, that’s what I’m trying to do.

How do you help people get off the streets?

Marc Silverstein: How do you do that? How do you help them get started? 

Jonathan Choe: You let them know that you care about them. You let them know,  you ask them what their name is. You ask them their story. You’d be shocked, you guys – well, maybe not you guys – former journalists. If you actually take the time to stop and talk to a panhandler, you’ll be surprised because the vast majority of people don’t. And when you stop and genuinely ask them, “What’s your story? What can I do to help? Are you ready if I take you to a shelter? What if I bring an outreach worker out here?” You’ll be surprised at how many times people open up. 

And once you build that trust, when you show up consistently over and over and again, like I do, and they know now I’m a journalist out there just documenting their story, they start to trust you. And I have been able to, just in the past three, four months now, being on the sidelines, transitioning to Discovery Institute, I’ve been personally connecting with some ministry, some non-profits, and I’ve been directing people to those places. And I’ve been tracking some of their stories. And that’s another series that’s going to be coming up, by the way. 

Marc Silverstein: Yeah, I was just gonna say it sounds like you have a documentary ready to go. 

Jonathan Choe: I do. That’s another story for another day, that’s down the line. But I’m tracking some of the people that I built relationships with to find out where they end up going, because that’s another key piece. Right now, the city and the county will follow a homeless person into the intake, but after that, what happens? Very few right now are being tracked, and many end up back on the streets.

Do you have an example of a story that really touched you?

Marc Silverstein: Do you have a short example of a story that really touched you?

Jonathan Choe: I mean, I just did this incredible series of the homeless now retreating into the woods, right? Because it’s cooler, it’s out of sight, out of mind. And I just met this woman from Los Angeles, and she admitted to being a heroin user, but she was so talented. She came here to be a musician. Life happened, and I just asked her to play solo, and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, these people have so much potential.” Her playing was incredible. She could be playing right now, concert, but she’s choosing the streets for various reasons – broken relationships, addiction, of course. There’s probably mental illness as well, and she just prefers to be out there. And she wants the freedom right now. 

And that to me was probably one of the most touching, at the same time heartbreaking, situations. And it’s just so frustrating. I can’t imagine her father, her mother, what they must be thinking right now – my baby girl with so much potential can still play the guitar, and she’s out here doing the drugs.

Has the reporting that you’re doing led to any public policy change?

Kathy Fowler: So the reporting that you’ve done now, has it led to any public policy change, or do you hope that it will lead to public policy change? Because I don’t know, like, I often wonder what these politicians are thinking. Just like, do they not know the answers, so they just think the answer is pushing the problem off to another neighborhood for a fight for another day? I mean, it makes no sense.

Jonathan Choe: Look, in fairness, what’s happening in Seattle is a sea change. There’s a new mayor who’s been in office now for about half a year, Mayor Bruce Harrell. There’s a city attorney who, you know, Ann Davison, she’s like the first Republican to be elected in Seattle since like the 1980s. I mean, that’s significant. 

So, you know, going from this activist socialist far left atmosphere for the past couple years now, Seattle’s kind of going back more towards the middle. They’re looking for moderates, right? Because even the liberals and the progressives, they’re starting to realize, “Wait, uh, crime, uh, homelessness now on my doorstep, that’s becoming a problem. Okay, let’s forget about the far left fringe voices for a moment, let’s now start to look at the reasonable majority.” 

So, Seattle is shifting. They are still hopeful in the new administration. Sweeps continue, stuff is getting done, but the question now is, what’s working and what’s not, what’s sustainable and what’s not, and it’s still way too early to tell right now because there have been some success stories in certain spots of Seattle. 

For example, the downtown core for the most part, it’s clear of tents, but again, where did all those tents go? Did the homeless actually go into shelter and did they start the journey to get off the streets or did they just move to another neighborhood, and that piece is not being clearly tracked. That data is not available right now, at least from city officials and from the county.

Also, getting back to your question in terms of ultimately what is being done in terms of policy change, all I know is they’re watching my work. The lawmakers are watching my work. 

Has it actually led to tangible results? I mean, I don’t know. All I know is they’re looking at my work right now, at least, and I’m only speaking from my time at the Discovery Institute now for the past three months, but they’re watching my work and I’m highlighting, and there’s no way to ignore these inconvenient truths. 

And I can’t tell you enough dependence on just mainstream media, the television stations in town, uh-uh, that’s not happening anymore. The power of social media, independent journalism guys, man, it is such an exciting time. I was talking about the dire state of Journalism, but I can tell you right now, and maybe I’m biased, I’m independent now, that’s what I consider myself as a fellow at this think tank, because I have autonomy to cover whatever I want pretty much, but it is an exciting time, especially with all these new platforms emerging. 

I mean, look at this podcast you guys are pulling off. This is another avenue to get information out, to get conversation started, and also to start influencing these lawmakers, at the very least shining a light on really what’s happening out there. I hope that answers your question.

Are other cities shipping their homeless to LA and other warmer cities?

Marc Silverstein: These two anecdotal things, but when Kathy talked about LA, one of the things we heard was that other cities are shipping their homeless to LA and warmer cities, is that right? 

Kathy Fowler: You get a one-way ticket. 

Marc Silverstein: Yeah, it’s sort of like what Abbott did with the buses and the people coming in over the border. Is that anecdotal? Is that crap? Or is that real? 

Jonathan Choe: I can tell you right now, I want to do that story so badly. Um, we’re trying to figure out how to pull that off. It’s not only anecdotal, I believe it’s really happening, because I talked to a lot of folks here in Seattle on the street and they’re not from Seattle, so how they got here, I’m not sure. Did another lawmaker or governor from another state pay for them, or did some non-profit pay for them to move to Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles or San Francisco? I don’t know, I don’t have that data and proof, I haven’t done that reporting. But just Google it, there are other reports. I mean, from Texas, Austin, San Antonio, city officials sending the homeless to these West Coast cities. 

I want to get into that story. I would love to show the journey starting from one of those states to a West Coast city. I have no doubt that that’s happened. But right now, I can firmly say there are many people who have just moved to Seattle in the past two-to-three years, because they say it’s more lax, more open to the homeless, there are so many social services out here, and so it is an easier climate to live in 24/7, 365 days a year, rather than a place Chicago, which has a homeless crisis, but it’s not as out there as a place like San Francisco or Los Angeles or Seattle or Portland.

Marc Silverstein: Another thing we heard was that during COVID, and you’ve probably met people like this, but there were professionals, like attorneys, who lost their jobs and then bad things happened and then ended up on the streets. You wouldn’t believe the backgrounds we were told.

Kathy Fowler: You’ve probably met some of those people, like really talented people, like the musician you said, but probably white collar workers, lawyers, accountants, whatever, during COVID, probably saw the same situation.

Jonathan Choe: Um, as we all know, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to being homeless. You have one spectrum where you have someone like that just for whatever reason didn’t have a social safety net, life happens, they were working, next thing you know, two months later, they’re on the street for whatever reason, but they’re more likely to get off the streets, right? Because they’re hungry, they’re fighting, they still have all their faculties, they don’t necessarily have an addiction, so they’re easier to help. 

Then you have the other spectrum of just so far gone, mental illness, drug addiction, just used to being on the streets, you just don’t know if someone like this can be saved, essentially. Again, I think it’s so important right now to say that I’ve seen, I believe, the spectrum of homelessness on the streets here in Seattle. 

But yeah, I think on that note, one story of a guy I met just a couple of months ago in this neighborhood in Seattle called Ballard, he was living at an encampment, his name is Ben. And I regret losing track of him because of the sweeps, he moved from one encampment to another, and I was following him and I don’t know where he ended up. But he told me he was a chemist and he was brilliant, just well-spoken, eloquent. I remember he had this really severe, his hand was swollen because he got into a fight the night before and his cell phone got stolen. I’m like, “Ben, what’s going on? You’re a chemist, you know, you’re a college professor.”

He says at one point, “Yeah, you know, the divorce really wrecked me and then it led to the drinking and then it led to the finances being drained, and then the options you know ran out, then his social network turned on him.” There are multiple sides to every story. I’m sure mistakes were made on his end as well, and he ended up on the streets and now he’s caught in this cycle of homelessness. 

When you talk about attorneys losing their jobs during the pandemic or people who were professionals and for whatever reason not on the streets, absolutely that’s happening, and Ben is a perfect example of that. This guy who’s absolutely brilliant, who just seemed to have life circumstances happen, then he started making choices that brought him further down this rabbit trail. There are so many stories like that in this country that we don’t even know about that aren’t being documented right now.

Have you been able to interview experts with viable ideas to solve the crisis?

Kathy Fowler: Do you in your reporting have you been able to interview experts or people who have some answers, or who think there are some things that we should be trying, because it seems like there’s so many people trying to solve this problem, and so many smart different organizations, like couldn’t they all come together and figure it out? I mean it’s a super complex problem right, it’s mental health, it’s housing crisis, it’s COVID obviously, it’s drug addiction, I mean it’s multifaceted right, but we have really smart people who can come together and tackle this, why can’t we, or who was working on it that we could look to for some hope?

Jonathan Choe: I think what you’re referring to is the homeless industrial complex. This problem is just too big to fail. I don’t believe that we’re going to see this ever solved in our lifetimes, and it’s here to stay. It’s now about mitigation. It’s about getting as many people as possible off the streets and essentially trying to control it from getting out of control. 

Yeah, you’re absolutely right, there are so many smart people, non-profits, billions, billions of dollars thrown at this, and yet there is no end in sight, and it just seems to be getting worse. 

Kathy Fowler: Is that because people are making money off of it?

Marc Silverstein: Like he said, the homeless industrial complex, right?

Kathy Fowler: Well right, I know. But I look cynically at the pharmaceutical industry, you know, I’m like, why isn’t there cures for things, we spend so much money, and then you go, well, is there really, is it more profitable to cure something or is it more profitable to come up with a drug and treat something for life, right? 

Jonathan Choe: Like medication versus actual cures for the pharmaceutical industry. You don’t want a cure, you want a pill that someone takes for the rest of their life so you can make millions of dollars off that person. 

Kathy Fowler: Yeah, so is that the same thing with homelessness? That’s what you’re saying, like there’s just too much money to be had along the way that no one’s really actually trying to solve the problem?

Jonathan Choe: It depends who you ask. Personally, I would think that’s really insidious and sinister for people to have that type of motive. Look at the end of the day, I don’t know what’s inside a man’s heart and what’s inside a woman’s heart, but I think there are good orgs out there, they’re good people, I’d like to think the vast majority are, but there are also, I’m sure, no doubt some there just to line their own pockets. You start to wonder why is, you know, a CEO or an executive at a homeless non-profit making $300-400,000?

I don’t know. I mean, I’m not going to judge. It’s not my place either to say how much someone should make or not, or what somebody’s worth. But yeah, this has really become a multi-billion dollar industry, and there are people doing very well. Are people who are homeless being helped? Yeah, sure, no doubt some are. But in terms of an actual answer, a cure, I don’t see it coming to an end anytime soon.

I want to quickly answer your question about why can’t the smartest people put their minds together and figure this out. Well, it’s also because so many of them have different approaches to what they think the answer is. And I’ve reported on this, and it is absolutely wild. 

There is a non-profit in Seattle that just started during the pandemic, only two years old. It’s called We Heart Seattle, probably one of the most effective homeless non-profits because what they do is grassroots. It’s about mobilizing the community, right? It’s not just relying on the professionals or the policy makers or public officials. It’s actually figuring out ways to mobilize neighbors so they go out and clear encampments. And get this: then they go and build relationships with the homeless and get the homeless to clean up the encampments. Then they take the next step to build a closer relationship to finally saying, “Bob, Jenny, are you ready? You know we love you, you know you’re making progress.” And this, they call it boots on the ground one-on-one, and this model has been working and has been successful in the short time that this nonprofit’s been around.

Yet the far left, the activists, like Stop The Sweep Seattle, are consistently hammering this nonprofit because Stop The Sweep and the mutual aid on the far left groups will say, “You’re disturbing somebody’s homeless encampment. Let them be in the garbage. Stay there.” And then when I ask, “Well, when should we move the homeless or have them take the next step in life?” When they’re ready. So, what does ready mean? When a studio or an apartment is available? I’m like, what, a studio or an apartment is the only time which goes back to this insanity of housing first, the socialism, ultimately. And again, it depends who you ask, who you want to believe. But there are people in Seattle, in this country, who want the encampments to remain because it shows that capitalism is not working. It shows that it’s failed. They want to destabilize and ultimately start a revolution.

Again, I don’t want to go down to conspiracy theory holes. All I know is I’m talking to my people on the ground here in Seattle who are part of these socialist and communist communities. Oh, absolutely they exist. And they want the encampments to remain. And so you have so many different groups with so many different approaches clashing 

Kathy Fowler: Not just approaches, but agendas, right? Because that other group, is their agenda helping the homeless people, or is their agenda proving a point? They have a different agenda, and it may not be.

Jonathan Choe: Yeah. And you have folks who want to keep the homeless out there so they can continue to line their pockets and pay their people to keep on doing the outreach with no end in sight. And then you have others who want to ultimately just cure it and help people get off the street.

So, and there’s no clearinghouse. This is America, you have free will choice. There’s no official registration you need to go out and help a homeless person, so non-profits are being started every single day for all kinds of reasons. It’s just wild. I mean, that’s another story for another day as well, right guys? How easy would it be to start a homeless non-profit and how much money could you make? You know, I have no doubt that’s happening.

Do you want to tell us about a recent story you reported on?

Marc Silverstein: Do you, um, I mean, I saw the way you uncovered the video where the guy attacked the guy in the wheelchair and killed him. Do you want to tell that story?

Jonathan Choe: Yeah, it’s just an absolutely heartbreaking story. A homeless man, simply sitting in his wheelchair in Bellevue, a city 10 minutes from Seattle. It is one of the most affluent, and it was in an area with these high-end shops. It was right across the street from the police station and city hall. But it was, you know, a little past midnight, and you just see this guy coming up to the man sitting in the wheelchair and just wailing on him, punching him in the head, knocking him out of his wheelchair, and then stomping on his head for good measure, and then simply walking away. Truly a maniac. 

Thankfully, he was arrested. The perpetrator was arrested and he’s now facing several charges, including first-degree murder. Unfortunately, the surveillance video did not have any audio, so prosecutors say, at this point, it looks to be unprovoked. But yeah, this story ultimately what it did for me was just continue to show the dangers as well that the homeless are facing. I think a lot of people, depending again who you are, what side you’re on, may think the homeless are all criminals. That’s not true. Many of them are the victims and they’re in these tough circumstances. 

And like this man in his 60s who was, you know, on a fixed income and simply, there again, we don’t know why he was there at that hour of day, there’s still so many unanswered questions. He was well known in Bellevue’s homeless community, stayed at a local shelter, and it just rocked the community. But again, another reminder that the homeless continue to be targets, they’re vulnerable, a lot of times they’re the victims, and they get taken advantage of by the drug dealers, by the pimps, by just these insane violent acts.

Do you ever fear for your safety?

Marc Silverstein: Do you ever fear for your safety? 

Jonathan Choe: Um, if I said no, I’d be lying. But that’s why, you know, I’ve accessed, I’ve gone out many times, you know, look, you’ve got to be smart, first and foremost, and always keep your head on a swivel. But, you know, depending on the situation, you know, I’m not going to go into something insane. I have access to a security guard and I’ve gone into these encampments or, you know, protest situations with security guards when I’ve needed to go in with one. 

But look, um, yeah, is there a risk? No doubt. But at the same time, I’m not stupid. Um, at any moment can a situation get out of control? Yeah, absolutely. I try to, you know, eject as soon as possible if I see a situation spiraling out of control. But again, I go in there slowly, cautiously. It’s about building trust and relationships.

If people trust you and they know you’re really there to just tell their story in a fair and accurate way, like journalists are supposed to, and your motive is there to really just simply spotlight what’s happening, I think for the most part you’ll be fine. But right now, you have a lot of mainstream outlets who aren’t going into these situations and covering these stories because of that very same reason. 

Marc Silverstein: Is that so? Because you have really good stations in Seattle

Jonathan Choe: Well, here’s the worst kept secret: a lot of these stations have unions, and when I was at KOMO, this is a fact, and I’ll just say it: the photogs refused to go into homeless encampments without security. And towards the end, they refused to go out with me because I was pushing the envelope. I kept going into these places, I was getting the stories, but they were fearful, and justifiably so. 

In fairness, I get it. I mean, who knows what you’re going to encounter in a homeless encampment? You just don’t know. It’s a mix, right? Like the spectrum of homeless, it’s a spectrum in these encampments. You don’t know. You have these trap tents, that’s a fact. These tents that are being used by drug dealers. They want you to think that a homeless person is living in there, but they’re running drugs out of there. You have trap tents in these places. 

You have prostitution happening. Oh, the heartbreaking stories of so many prostitutes, these sex workers who I’ve met at these encampments. I just haven’t been able to show it, because they don’t want to be interviewed, and I know the pimp is watching. 

So, I’ve got to be really careful too about what I show and how I approach, and so on and so forth. But oh yeah, you have everyone who’s ready who just wants that tiny house, who’s ready to get off the streets, to folks who are intentionally there taking advantage of the homeless.

What’s your ultimate goal for shining a spotlight on this?

Marc Silverstein: We know your immediate goal is to shine a spotlight on this. What’s the ultimate goal?

Jonathan Choe: Solutions. You know, I don’t want to just spotlight and shine a light on this. I want real change, even if it’s one person at a time. You know, when all is said and done, if I’ve seen one person, one man, one woman get off the streets and get back into society or reunite with a family member, I know that I fulfilled my call. That’s what I really believe. I’m doing this as kind of a higher calling for me. 

Look, I could go into any industry I want. I mean, I’ve had other offers. It’s… I’ve, by the way, I’ve been, you know, I’ve parted ways with several stations now for various reasons. I left the industry three times. So, if I go back into mainstream media, even after this, and I don’t, I’ll never say never, right? As of right now, I don’t see myself back in mainstream, and I like what I’m doing now. But, you know, I’ve left the industry several times, and I’ve jumped back in for whatever reason. 

But again, I’m in a season right now where I feel like I’m here for a reason. I’m seeing things and showing things that others are not. And if I’m not the one doing it, as we know, it’s almost like it never happened, right? I mean, that’s what’s so wild about this. And that’s when public officials can say, “Oh, everything’s fine here. Nothing to see. Move along.”

And that is what infuriates me the most when elected officials say, “Oh look, Seattle’s great, oh Portland’s great, San Fran’s great.” I’m like, no, it’s not. Here’s what’s really happening because of your policies, and that’s what I want to continue to showcase. 

Kathy Fowler: I think most people, that’s where they don’t understand journalists, the most true people who are true journalists, not just people who want to be on TV or want to be famous, they’re going in there because they want to create change. They want to shine a light. They want to show the unfairness of, or what’s not happening, expose corruption or crime or whatever.

So, you know, journalists get a bad rap by people who want to say that we’re on X side or you know, Y side or Z side. No, we’re not on sides. We’re on the side of trying to make a difference, and that’s what it sounds like you’re able to do.

How long do you see yourself staying at Discovery Institute?

Kathy Fowler: How long do you see yourself staying at Discovery Institute? For longer than I know, you said you had a year fellowship or whatever. Will you, do you see yourself staying longer and covering other issues?

Jonathan Choe: Well, it really depends. I was asked that question as well by my president when he brought me on, and he said, “How long do you want to stay?” I said, “Let’s take it year by year, let’s see where this goes. I don’t know where this is going to go.” So far, so good. 

But, you know, I want to also say, we’re a non-profit, and we all know how the media industry works, right? It’s based off of advertising. You know, newspapers, at one point before Craigslist, it was all classifieds, fueling it. That’s why the newspaper industry right now is in a free fall. Television stations right now rely still primarily on local advertising, but a lot of it is being fueled by retrans fees. Retrans fees, you can Google it, but they’re basically getting money from the cable providers. But people are cutting the cord, so the TV industry, who knows how long it’s going to stick around with this current model, but it’s being squeezed right, because a lot, most of the television stations now are not independent. They’re not owned by mom and pops. They’re owned by the Nexstars, the Tegnas, the Sinclairs, these massive corporate conglomerates. Disney, Fox, Comcast, Viacom, owning all of these big-time players in these local markets. So, at the end of the day, they’re beholding to their shareholders, not the audience, not the community. 

So, you know, I feel like journalism is at a very, again, once again, another crossroads, but getting back to Discovery, we’re non-profits, so I have to raise funding to stay here. That was my long-winded setup to say, we’re a non-profit, and I have enough to get by for, I think, the next few months, next year at least, but after that, and even now, I have to continue to look for ways to raise funding to continue this work. 

But I also decided to take this risk and gamble because it’s also an opportunity for me to not only tackle stories that are not being covered in the community, but also test out and try out new models to fund and sustain journalism. And I love how right now you have the Patreon model, you have subscription models that certain independent journalists are using, Substack, and so on and so forth.

I want to try other crowdfunding models as well. Maybe to launch a story, if you want to see, here’s a crazy idea I’ve been thinking about. I don’t know how I’m going to pull it off, but hey, three important stories this week, if you want it funded, the one that can raise the most money is the one that gets launched. I mean things like that, I mean this is such an interesting time. I feel like you not only have to be a journalist, but you also have to really think like an entrepreneur now as well because you’re really on your own if you want to do your work. 

Kathy Fowler: I think so many people didn’t realize how local news got started. When you were a station, you had to dedicate x amount to public service, to news, and then all of a sudden, a lot of these local news organizations went, “oh wow, this is a money maker, we can make money off that.” And then anytime you infuse money into a situation, well, then they’re the um, the quality can go down because then the money is the driver and not the um, the reason for existing. 

Jonathan Choe: Oh yeah, and there’s so much lobbying happening behind the scenes in front of the Federal Communications Commission. Right now, you have a lot of these television station ownership groups lobbying constantly, trying to deregulate or essentially loosen up the laws and this oversight so they can continue to do more of the profit-making instead of really using their platforms as a public service. So, very interesting times. I don’t know where this is all going to go. I don’t have all the answers, which is also why I’m still a journalist at the end of the day.

What happened during the Proud Boys rally?

Marc Silverstein: So, what happens? Tell us, you were at KOMO, which is a legendary station, was it the 12th market you said, right? Seattle.

Jonathan Choe: 11. And I’m glad you added that qualifier, was a legendary station.

Marc Silverstein: And you were covering the protest.

Kathy Fowler: The Proud Boys rally.

Jonathan Choe: Yes, it was really a rally, it wasn’t even a protest necessarily, it was a march through Olympia, Washington, the state’s capital. 

Marc Silverstein: All right, pick it up, what happened? 

Jonathan Choe: Yeah, no, I’ve shared a lot of, I’ve just shared the story now dozens of times. It made national news, and…

Marc Silverstein: This will be the best telling right here, this will be the best telling.

Jonathan Choe: Yeah, this is like version like 50 now, so…

Kathy Fowler: It’ll be shorter and sweeter.

Jonathan Choe: Basically, I went on the weekend on my time off, and it’s because I knew it could potentially be a big story. Last year, an antifa member shot at a proud boy, and of course, we all know the Proud Boys, they’ve been implicated in January 6th capital insurrection, and I wanted to know as a journalist who are these people, what’s what is the big deal? And I go, and in at KOMO, we covered dozens of antifa rallies, the far-left destroying the city, and trashing police vehicles. 

So I wanted to find out who these Proud Boys were, and what it turned into was maybe 50 folks just marching around Olympia, peaceful, quiet, grandmas were there, and it wasn’t all white. You had blacks, Asians, Latinos, male, females, some children were there as well, and I simply was live-tweeting. I want to be very clear, none of this made air, and it was on my time off, but a little video montage, as you guys remember, a nat sound package just with some photos and audio that I heard blaring from one of the speakers of a marcher. 

I put this montage together and immediately the far left… I put it on Twitter and the far left seized on that and accused me of, you know, essentially perpetuating Proud Boys propaganda. And they started an online coordinated campaign to inundate KOMO with phone calls saying ‘Jonathan Choe needs to be fired’. 

So the next day my news director, you know, I kept it up, my news director said, ‘Hey, this is crazy, you need to take down that video’. So I took everything down. I wanted to leave it up. I was like, ‘What’s the big deal? I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m not saying the Proud Boys are the best or right and one side is right or another. This is literally what happens’. 

And then the following day my news director and GM brought me in the offices. ‘Hey, we got to part ways’. And I said, ‘Okay, fine’. The back story here is that I only had two and a half weeks left until my out clause was kicking in at KOMO. So I think it made it a little easier for them. I already told my bosses I was going to explore my options. Negotiations, right? So I think that factored in as well. 

But ultimately they caved. KOMO caved to the pressure from the far left and that’s what ultimately took me on this journey. And it’s been a blessing in disguise and I stand by everything. Could I have presented it differently? Probably. Would I have, you know, not gone if, you know, I had to do it all over again? I would have gone absolutely. That story needed to be covered. You know, people have said, ‘Hi, would you have not gone?’, ‘You know, no, absolutely, that’s what journalists do. You have to cover these stories and you have to show all sides.’ 

Kathy Fowler: Because they perceived it to be, uh, pro-Proud Boys, is that the one?

Jonathan Choe: Yeah, the far left. They created their narrative online. See, that’s why the far left, they’re so sophisticated. They understand tech. And I joke around with my buddies in the media, they’re like, ‘I’m like the conservatives, they’re idiots. They can’t figure out Parler. They’re like beholden to the tech community. The liberals, the far left, you gotta understand tech. So you can create your own ecosystem and your own platforms’. 

But yeah, the far left essentially used social media and they mobilized their base. It was incredible. It was fascinating. It was like this. I was watching, uh, you know, again, uh, part of society I’ve never seen operate this way. So it was a learning experience for me as well to see how social media is now so powerful and can sway public, not only public opinion but obviously policy decisions and also decisions by news directors.

Kathy Fowler: And turn a, uh, a liberal, considered liberal Democrat into some crazy conservative that they turn you out to be.

Jonathan Choe: Yeah, I’m now a conservative Trump supporter apparently. 

Kathy Fowler: Oh gosh. 

Marc Silverstein: Well, so wait, wait a minute. 

Jonathan Choe: I’m an independent for the record. I mean, independent. Yes. 

Marc Silverstein: Do you think, no, I mean, we’ve all been fired from the news business or in the news business. Do you think they were just looking for a reason to get rid of you and you handed it to them? 

Jonathan Choe: I don’t think so. Again, I don’t know if I’ll ever know that answer. I’ve not heard back from my news director or general manager. You’re gonna have to ask them. Um, they just put out a quick statement, and that was it. 

Um, but, you know, I refuse to allow this false narrative, this fake news to go around, so I believe I took back the story, and I stand by everything that I’ve set up to this point, and now I’m starting my new journey at Discovery Institute. I’m doing the best journalism that I’ve done in my entire career.

How should journalists handle members of radical movements when they cover them?

Kathy Fowler: So, what do you think about journalism when, you know, obviously, I have, we probably share a lot of viewpoints on the good, the bad, the ugly about journalism, but one of the things, how should they handle, like when you have these groups who are so outside the norm, right, and so, should they be ignoring them because talking about them and showing what they’re doing is giving them fuel and giving them exposure that, you know, it used to be like in school shooters, right? Like, we used to say the name of the mass school shooters, and then all of a sudden, they realize the media was like, wait a minute, well, they want notoriety. So now it’s creating more school shooters because they want to be like Dylan from Columbine or whatever. So now the media decides we’re not talking about them, we’re not giving them like the heroism or whatever they need, although they’re still getting it on the dark web. 

So how should journalists handle some of the Steve Bannons and the super radical right or left, either one, should you ignore them, should you pay attention to them, should you cover them? Like, what, how should journalism, I mean, from a philosophical viewpoint, how should we be handling that?

Jonathan Choe: Yeah, I think it all depends. It depends on your news organization, it depends on the values. But, you know, you talked about a lot of the older kind of values that, you know, traditional newsrooms had. 

My question, first of all, is who determined that standard? It’s like, as journalists, we just take orders, right? But, like my question is, who determined that, and why? What’s the reason? You ask most newsroom managers, they can’t even answer that question. So, we just kind of go along with the flow, and that’s just the way it is. So, I’m the type of person who questions that, but fast forward to now, that ship has sailed. Yo, you can get all that information on social media now, and that’s where most, you know, I believe consumers now, they did this study, the next generation coming up, they’re getting their news now on, not even Facebook, it’s Instagram and TikTok.

Those are the places they’re getting their news sources. So, in terms of gatekeepers, the clearinghouse, the vetting, it’s a free-for-all now, guys. So, you know, look, if you’re a traditional newsroom and you want to institute, and you’ve had those values for all these years, and like you said, for that reason, hey, we don’t want to give more notoriety to these shooters, we don’t want copycats. The cat’s out of the bag, too late, it’s still happening.

So, with that said, I’m in the camp where it’s on a case-by-case situation. You’ve got to just really use your own judgment and your own wisdom as to, you know, we learned this in J school, Journalism 101, it’s about minimizing harm, right? It’s, you don’t want to just do something for the sake of doing it. 

You’ve got to have a reason, and at the same time, if you do choose to put out a name or certain details or cover a certain group, I think we owe it to our viewers, our readers, our listeners; you’ve got to explain why, right? And I think if you add that, you know, reason, you know, every time, and I think your audience will respect that, and whether they agree with you or not, at the very least, they’ll know why now, and I think that type of I’m all about conversation, discourse, uh, giving people reasons why, I’m not, you don’t have to agree with me every single time, but here’s why I’m doing it, and I think that’s important instead of just going with the flow just because that’s the way we’ve always done it. That’s the type of stuff that bothers me.

What are your thoughts on showing people how journalism works behind the scenes?

Kathy Fowler: Should news organizations also maybe put the curtain or show people behind the curtain about how we go about getting stories? Because, you know, if you’re a true journalist, you know, you’re not just like, um, you know, I mean, people who are news hosts, there are so many people who are labeled journalists who are not really journalists. You know, Sean Hannity is not a journalist, of course, except when he wants to be a journalist because it helps him in court or whatever, but you know what I mean, like there are certain people we, I think the public needs to know who a journalist is and kind of what the rules are and how they work. What are your thoughts about that?

Jonathan Choe: I think we’re just, again, in this time now where like the titles, these norms in media, these expectations we’ve always had, it’s all out the door, man. It’s like it’s a free-for-all, it’s a shakeout that’s happening. So all of these titles, what we used to do, is all being redefined. You have people who are once journalists now injecting opinion into everything, and you have people like you said, who are just provocateurs and hosts and opinion makers, now claiming to do the journalism. 

And, look, I don’t want to limit people, this goes back to kind of my logic, it’s like who determines what you can do and not do, but it’s all about saying what you’re doing and being open about it. And if you want to just be a pure play journalist, look, we all have a bias, we all have a world view and value systems, but at least try to be objective, right? And I think that’s the biggest difference. You have people now who don’t even try to be objective, and I still feel like I’m in that camp. I consider myself a journalist, I have an opinion, I’ve shared my opinion, but at the very least at the end of the day, look at my work, look at my track record, look at what I’m producing. If you’re seeing all sides represented or at least an attempt, then I think you can still call me a journalist, right? That’s my standard. 

Marc Silverstein: When I watched your pieces, I couldn’t tell what side you’re on.

Jonathan Choe: Thank you.

Where can people find you?

Marc Silverstein: Yeah, no, other than presenting the truth or presenting a, you know, a great, not even a snapshot, but, you know, whatever’s bigger than a snapshot, um, a spotlight on the topic that you were covering that thing.

Where do people find you? And how did they find you?

Jonathan Choe: Yeah, look, I’m most active on my Twitter right now. My handle is @ChoeShow, C-H-O-E-S-H-O-W.

That’s where you can find a lot of my random daily thoughts and hot takes and video. Again, all of this is primarily video, but a lot of my pieces will end up on our website. It’s You can find news stories, multiple stories, each week. And if you want to support us and support the work, we can use all the help that we can get because right now it’s just, you know, a couple people running this, and we’re trying to expand, because we’re realizing there’s a need and there’s a marketplace for this. People are hungry for this type of news, for this type of coverage, that’s just not being done by the mainstream press, especially locally here in Seattle for all kinds of reasons.

Kathy Fowler: Are you concentrating only on homelessness right now, or do you work on other stories? 

Jonathan Choe: It’s primarily my bread and butter. Every single day is the homeless crisis, but with the homeless crisis, there are offshoots of that, and there’s crime related to the homeless crisis. There’s human trafficking, which is crime, and I mean, there’s just all of these stories related. But yeah, I started off as a general assignment reporter early on in my career, so, you know, I still enjoy covering all kinds of issues in the community that matter. But right now, I feel like front and center my priority again is the homeless crisis and everything else connected to it.

Marc Silverstein: Well, keep up the amazing work. And it’s really, I mean, you blew my mind here today with everything that you’re doing. And, and I let’s hope that more people have their eyes open. 

Kathy Fowler: Well, first of all, policy makers are paying attention and start doing something as a result. 

Jonathan Choe: They’re paying attention, but they’re also trying to ignore. But it’s hard to ignore the video and social media. When these videos and stories take off, they take off. So at a certain point, you know, accountability needs to happen.

Marc Silverstein:, @ChoeShow, and can we add We Heart Seattle? I mean, you like them so we can mention that. 

Jonathan Choe: I mean, they’re an incredible non-profit. And I love Union Gospel Mission here in Seattle, Reach Ministry. I mean, there are just a lot of great non-profits doing work, whether they’re faith-based or not. But those are the three that I’ve primarily worked very closely with, and I’ve had incredible access because of the inroads and relationships they’ve built here in the community here in Seattle. The trust and credibility they have.

Are you going to expand to other cities?

Marc Silverstein: Are you going to expand to other cities like LA, San Francisco, or the end? 

Jonathan Choe: Yeah, I did a piece in my hometown of Boston in June. My next trip is going to be to Spokane, Washington. After that, we’re going to San Francisco, and we are we’re coming to LA, Portland. We’re going to Chicago. We’re going to be looking at other models. We’re not just there to spotlight the problem, we’re trying to find solutions. What’s working, what’s not.

Kathy Fowler: Well, we’ll be watching. That’s awesome. 

Marc Silverstein: Continue success and keep going. And I’m yeah, it’s nice to see someone that doesn’t shy away from anything. I mean, reporters…

Jonathan Choe: At this point I have already been fired, so whatever. Who cares? 

Kathy Fowler: And now I’ve been fired, but now you’re a MAGA crowd guy.

Jonathan Choe: Yeah. Apparently, yeah. Like I said, just be clear. I voted both Democrat and Republican, and I will continue to go down that road as an independent journalist.

Kathy Fowler: Independent moderate. There you go.

Jonathan Choe: Yes, independent moderate.

Marc Silverstein: Who likes Star Wars. That’s anybody watching on YouTube. You know, that’s what’s behind you. Star Wars figures. 

Jonathan Choe: Yeah, that’s my vice, my one vice. 

Marc Silverstein: I’m sure. Yes. Thank you, Jonathan. Thank you so much. 

Jonathan Choe: Thanks guys for reaching. I appreciate the opportunity. 

Marc Silverstein: I don’t even know where to start with him. 

Kathy Fowler: It’d be great if that’s the way journalism could work from now on.

Marc Silverstein: Yeah. And it is in a lot of ways, but I mean…

Kathy Fowler: It’s kind of scary when he said it’s a free-for-all and people are getting their news everywhere. That’s what I, we, I worry about, the vetting and people with not using critical thinking skills and not vetting who they’re getting the information from. Like Jonathan is an amazing source and he’s a reporter’s reporter.

Marc Silverstein: And he’s passionate.

Kathy Fowler: But not everybody is out there who’s claiming to be a journalist. 

Marc Silverstein: So, it was great talking with Jonathan. A lot to say, a lot of things because he kept saying that’s for another show, that’s for another show, that’s for another show. Well, okay, good, we’ll book you. Okay, we hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. 

Kathy Fowler: After Deadline: The Media Podcast is a production of On the Marc Media. If you enjoyed what you heard and want to hear more of our interviews with incredible journalists across the country, then be sure to follow us on social media at On the Marc Media and subscribe to After Deadline: The Media Podcast wherever you normally get your favorite podcast. Until next time, we’ll catch up with you after deadline.


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    Greg Maybaum
    Founder, Greg Maybaum Real Estate Closings
    I’ve been a pioneer and innovator among New York City closing attorneys for 35 years, but my branding needed a skillful refresh to reflect my experience, and I needed someone to transform my website into a tool that would help me prequalify prospects so I could make better use of my time serving upscale clients. On The Marc Media did an amazing job for me on both of those objectives. They reinvented my brand and created a style guide to ensure that my positioning, messaging and graphic design remains consistent going forward. And they not only changed the look and functionality of my website, they turned it into a semi-automated sales funnel that includes a detailed questionnaire that enables me to instantly understand the goals of each prospective client. On The Marc Media really cares. They have the marketing expertise to deliver incredible results and they’re continually evaluating their strategy to see where greater opportunities might exist. I highly recommend working with this team!
    Kimberly Wehle
    Professor, University of Baltimore School of Law
    Pro-active, media savvy, and extremely knowledgeable, On The Marc Media knows their stuff when it comes to PR. I’d heard that they were well connected and one of the best in the business. And after working with them, I can attest to that. Their team landed me dozens of media interviews, including several national appearances in record time.
    Dr. Dale Isaacson
    Doctor, DC Derm Docs
    As specialists in both cosmetic and general medical dermatology, we’ve devoted our practice to helping clients get the healthy body and appearance they need to lead happy lives. We’re also a business that needs expert marketing to let potential clients know we’re here to help them. On The Marc Media built a fantastic social media presence for us on all the right platforms and provided lots of sticky, eye-catching content to grow our following. They got us high-profile coverage in TV, print and online media. And they transformed our website from a static brochure to a business-boosting lead generator. They’ve also helped us use email marketing to keep our expertise and new treatments top-of-mind with prospective and existing clients. If you want your social media and marketing to glow like our clients’ faces, reach out to On The Marc Media!
    Diana Pohlman
    Founder, P.A.N.D.A.S. Network
    On The Marc Media helped us craft a compelling story and acquire critical media coverage that has exponentially raised awareness about P.A.N.D.A.S. across the nation. Their dedicated and professional team will bend over backwards to tell your story and make sure it is heard. Above all else, On The Marc Media shared our compassion and passion for the P.A.N.D.A.S. cause, which made them feel like real partners with a genuine desire to achieve our goals with us.
    Jason Smolen
    Co-Founding Principal, SmolenPlevy
    Marc Silverstein and On The Marc Media have ably represented SmolenPlevy these past years. The firm's needs are diverse ranging from marketing to public relations. Marc consistently develops a solution that is right for the target audience and within budget, assisting our firm in getting out the news of its reputation as a go-to law firm. Marc is highly regarded and highly recommended.
    Laurie Brunner
    Mainstream Management, LLC
    On The Marc Media has helped us entirely rebrand our business with market research and an integrated communications strategy. They've also increased our social media following on Facebook by 405% in just 6 months. On The Marc Media's hands-on approach sets them apart from other public relations and marketing companies, as they consistently go above and beyond to serve our needs—and in every instance have exceeded our objectives. They are true partners with my company, and we consider them a valuable extension of our team.
    Robin Wiener
    President & Founding Partner, Get Real Health
    We've been a proud client of On The Marc Media since 2011. They are a one-of-a-kind PR company. The OTMM team has a great balance of experience in front of the camera and behind it, and are a powerhouse as it relates to social media. We've seen all our marketing objectives and goals met because of our collaboration with OTMM. I would highly recommend them anytime, anyplace!
    VP of Communications, Dedalus Healthcare
    I cannot speak highly enough of On The Marc Media's exceptional partnership with Dedalus Healthcare. Their dedication, hard work, and unwavering commitment to our success have been instrumental in our journey. On The Marc Media not only understood our business goals but also helped us design a comprehensive strategy that perfectly aligned with our objectives.

    Their ability to adapt and remain nimble in a constantly changing landscape has been a game-changer for us. From social media management to media pitching, they have consistently demonstrated their expertise and determination to deliver real results. On The Marc Media truly embodies the essence of a trusted partner.