For Melissa Harris-Perry and Ray Suarez, a Windy City Homecoming

By Alissa Krinsky 

For MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, wrapping up her presidential campaign coverage in the Windy City was a trip down memory lane.  Several years ago, Perry taught political science at the University of Chicago, and through mutual school ties met the not-yet-famous Barack and Michelle Obama.

“I was here as a young, untenured faculty member,” Perry told TVNewser during an interview on Election Day. “And I can remember that [now-presidential adviser] Valerie Jarrett and [now-Ariel Investments CEO/Obama supporter]” John Rodgers would have African-American faculty over for dinner, just to kind of provide us with support. Now they are kind of the inside team in the Oval Office.”

It was during that time that Harris-Perry began providing political commentary for Chicago PBS station WTTW and CW affiliate WGN.  “In many ways, it’s when I fell in love with morning television.”

Harris-Perry, now a professor at Tulane in New Orleans, has hosted her eponymous weekend morning show on MSNBC since February.

Another former Chicagoan in town for Election 2012 was Ray Suarez, who reported for NBC O&O WMAQ for more than seven years, in the late 80s and early 90s. before leaving for Washington,

D.C., en route to National Public Radio and then to his current home, the PBS NewsHour.

Even today, Suarez says he regularly gets recognized by Chicagoans. “Which is weird – it’s been a long time!” Suarez tells TVNewser. “People still say hello to me like they’re still going to see me on that night’s ten o’clock news.  Kinda funny.”

And so the city remains meaningful to him. “I learned a lot about my craft, and I learned a lot about being a grown-up” in Chicago, he says. “I owned my first two houses here, I had my first two kids here, and it was a great place to be a reporter.”

(Photos: Alissa Krinsky)