When Tara Burghart and her husband Dan would mull a move to the suburbs from Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, she always insisted it would have to be a suburb with some history, some charm, a real sense of place — “like Geneva.” This despite the fact that her husband had never visited Geneva and her favorable impression was based on one shopping trip with a girlfriend nearly 10 years prior. Still, when it was time to buy a house in the suburbs, they indeed ended up in Geneva.
Burghart grew up just outside Springfield, Ill., and graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, where she served as editor in chief of the student publication “The Daily Illini.” One week after graduation, she went to work as a reporter for The Associated Press in Chicago and loved (nearly) every minute of working for that news organization for the next 14 years. In addition to her start in Chicago, she worked in bureaus in Champaign, Ill.; Portland, Ore.; and New York City before moving back to Chicago to be closer to family.
During her AP career, Burghart helped cover the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; the deadly anthrax attacks a few weeks later; several plane and train crashes, mass shootings and multiple murder and corruption trials.
But along the way, she also got to write about inspiring people such as the the old-fashioned obstetrician whose number of deliveries topped his small town’s population; the sole survivor of a boat loaded with Jewish refugees that sank during World War II; and several women who turned their grief over losing loved ones on Sept. 11 into new roles as advocates.
She also got to tackle her share of nutty, fun stories: A feature about a two-story outhouse, a look at a two-person town and a profile of a married couple who successfully defended their little burger shack called “Burger King” against the identically-named corporate giant.
Burghart was a finalist for a Missouri Journalism Lifestyle Award and a winner of a Front Page Award from the Newswomen’s Club of New York for a package about how art museums wrestle with ownership issues regarding antiquities. She serves on the board of the University of Illinois’ College of Media Alumni.
With Go West Young Mom, Burghart aims to use the reporting and writing skills she developed at the AP (thanks to many fine editors over the years!) to produce accurate, clear and trustworthy stories that will help young families enjoy everything the far western suburbs has to offer.
She lives with her adorable, entertaining and energetic daughter Johanna and husband Dan in a Geneva fixer-upper. In her spare time, she likes to kick back with a Diet Coke and the latest edition of “Real Simple” magazine and dream about how wonderful her house would look if only she bought one more storage container.