For Election Connection, I did a story on Wisconsin’s First Congressional District election between incumbent Republican Paul Ryan and challenger Democrat Rob Zerban. Conscious of my propensity – like many other Wisconsinites – to get swept up in the excitement of Ryan’s claim to national fame, I made an effort from the outset of this story to remain unbiased in my reporting.
In the process, I discovered the challenge of political reporting, specifically when your sources are working for candidates. On each side, I had sales pitch-like interviews. I just wanted a real conversation, but both campaign managers tried to sell me their candidates. And in talking with one campaign manager to another, I received contradictory information. Both knew how to spin information in their favor. If it weren’t so frustrating, I’d actually be impressed.
Next time, I think I’ll go in better armed with questions that will take me past the sales-pitch sound bites and produce something of more substance.
— Lauren Anderson