I would like to take a minute or two to explain a couple of things about my job. Specifically, one area in particular, politics.
Politics, like onions, have many layers, and I want to focus on one layer in particular.
I’ve been a news reporter/editor for over 10 years now, so this political season we are in or embarking on isn’t my first rodeo.
It is my first as an editor, which, of course, means I have a lot to say on what goes in the paper and online.
However, over the years, in this business, you start to pick up the habits and traits when it comes to political candidates on what they send.
Some candidates do a great job of sending out press releases or weekly columns on issues that are important to them. There are others who only send out emails every two weeks or so, saying why I voted for this bill, or I’m going to continue to fight so western Wisconsin will get xxxxxx.
When I interviewed for the Baldwin editor position, I wasn’t given too many rules by my boss except for one: steer clear of national politics as much as you can. When it comes to politics, your role is local and state government and if Washington D.C. affects your coverage area, report on it.
Wisconsin is represented in the U.S. Senate by Democrat Tammy Baldwin and Republican Ron Johnson. Since I started in Osceola earlier this month, the emails from Baldwin’s press office compared to Johnson’s office has been staggering. A majority of Baldwin’s emails have mainly dealt with calling on the Senate to do this or President Trump to do that in regards to helping Wisconsinites with COVID-19.
Based off reading those, I’ve made the decision not to put those in the paper or online, because they are mainly hopes and wishes and nothing of result.
Tom Tiffany was elected in May in a special election to be the representative for this area in the United State House of Representatives. Tiffany will be back on the ballot in November as he looks to defeat Tricia Zunker. Due to his short term so far in office, I haven’t seen any emails from Tiffany’s office.
Anytime Gov. Tony Evers come out with a news release, it’s going to affect someone throughout this state. If it affects Osceola or Polk County residents, I’ll make sure it gets published.
Which leaves the two local representatives currently – Senator Patty Schachtner and Representative Gae Magnafici.
I feel being the state senator carries a bit of distinction, or importance, so if I get a column from her, it’s going in. I can remember when Sheila Harsdorf held the position when I previously worked in newspapers; an opinion column from her was also guaranteed to get published.
And so far, the two pieces from Magnafici’s office, I received, her visiting the White House and honoring a retiring Polk County Board member, have both made the paper.
I knew early on in this business, you’re not going to please everyone, but at least you hope they understand and respect it.
Jason Schulte can be reached at email@example.com.