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March 27, 2008

Newsflash: Cub Reporter Actually Knows What She's Doing

After a far-too-long hiatus on political reporting, yesterday I was finally able to go back to reporting on my first love when one of our senators made a stop in our humble town to kick off his bid for reelection.

He was late, of course, so I spent the time before he showed his mug sweating in the overcrowded, tropically moist room and shooting the shi(r)t with a broadcast reporter .

Now, print and broadcast reporters may be of the same genus, but we’re of entirely different species. While both can be cocky and/or arrogant, these traits display themselves with much more frequency in the latter. By nature of their medium, broadcast reporters insert themselves into their reports and thus must concentrate on things other than the facts, things such as the degree of shine on their faces, whether their hair has been shellacked in place, etc.

And there’s something about their mediocre level of celebrity that makes them think they’re better than us lowly scribes who hide behind our bylines. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been elbowed out of the way by a broadcaster shoving a microphone in the face of someone I was just speaking to. I can’t tell you how many press conferences I’ve attended where broadcasters talk through others' attempts to speak and then grandstand instead of just asking a damn question in a plug to get more airtime.

But I digress.

Yesterday I had been in contact with a pair of spokespeople for this senator’s likely opponent. After said senator gave his spiel, I caught up with them outside to get their impressions. The aforementioned reporter hovered around us the whole time, trying to catch my eye and at one point actually hissing my name and beckoning.

“Those aren’t [senator]’s supporters!” he said as if he were feeding me career-saving information. “They work for [the other guy]!”

“Um, I know. But thanks,” I said.

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