It's Her Business: Journalist & Activist Meryl Comer

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

In celebration of Women’s History Month coming up in March, we’re featuring the marvelous journalist, producer, author, and advocate Meryl Comer in our February newsletter.

Within Hagley’s archives, Comer is best known for her work as a reporter and moderator for various television programs sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, including the nationally syndicated debate show “It’s Your Business” that aired from 1979-1998.

Serving as the show’s host and writer for 18 years, Comer deftly mediated often-heated discussions amongst some of the world’s most well-known politicians, business leaders, scientists, and activists on a wide variety of topics such as taxation, elections, labor disputes, environmental regulations, health care access, and more.

A still from "It's Your Business," U.S. Chamber of Commerce collection, Accession 1993.230. Hagley Museum and Library.

One of Comer’s most notable “It’s Your Business” performances was in 1984 when she traveled to Japan (see right) and discussed strained American-Japanese trade relations with the prime minister, Yasuhiro Nakasone, and the foreign minister, Shintaro Abe. Comer also conducted several comprehensive interviews with an array of powerful people during her time as a broadcast journalist. This includes her U.S. Chamber of Commerce “CEO Closeup” series where she interrogated leaders of large corporations about their successful business strategies and general knowledge. Donald E. Petersen (Ford Motor Company), Robert F. Daniell (United Technologies), Don Johnston (JWT Group), T. Boone Pickens (MESA), and Donald Rumsfeld (General Instrument) were amongst the willing participants.

After her retirement from broadcasting, Comer turned to activism and public speaking, focusing on raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and the importance of the disease’s early detection. She is the co-founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, a non-profit “engaged in a relentless pursuit” to eradicate Alzheimer’s, and author of the book Slow Dancing with a Stranger which details her personal experience as the wife and caregiver of someone with the disease.

Please visit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce collection in Hagley’s Digital Archives to view examples of Meryl Comer’s extraordinary work during her broadcast career.

Ona Coughlan is the Audiovisual Digitization Archivist at Hagley Museum and Library