I’ve always enjoyed attending the Hoosier State Press Association workshops in Indianapolis because they invigorate my desire to be a productive, smart reporter (trust me, I’m still learning). But the event I attended on Wednesday, June 19, in Indianapolis with Mail-Journal Reporter Deb Patterson was outstanding.
In addition to separate discussions on the incorporation of video with stories, public access laws and investigative techniques, the highlight Wednesday was listening to Katie Rogers, a New York Times reporter who started her career with her hometown newspaper, The Elkhart Truth.
Rogers, 34, joined the NYT in 2014 and is one of about six reporters who cover President Donald Trump. She started covering the presidency shortly after Trump’s arrival in office.
Here are three tidbits that stood out in her discussion:
- Tracking Trump’s tweets are a key part of her job. She wears an Apple Watch that vibrates when Trump tweets. In fact, the tweets have become so crucial in their coverage as it evolved as his favorite form of communication, that the newspaper hired a reporter who begins work at 6 a.m. specifically to stay on top of the president’s early-morning messaging.
- The newspaper dismantled its copy desk, which had been responsible for a lot of fact checking for reporters, but has hired a fact checker to track the president’s possible inaccuracies.
- As part of her job, she’s traveled to Europe, Africa and Asia and flown on Air Force One, which she thinks is cool, but was not impressed with the toilet paper.
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THIS AND THAT — A few things I’ve picked up in recent days:
- The Juneteenth celebration Wednesday, June 19, in Warsaw was deemed a success. About 70 people attended the event at the Shrine Building. Attorney Travis McConnell helped organize the event. He’s also one of the organizers behind the pro-diversity group, One Warsaw Celebrating Us, and said he was pleased with the turnout. Others supporting it said they hope it becomes an annual event.
- Independent party candidate Chris Plack, who is running for Warsaw City Council District 2, has been campaigning door-to-door and said on Facebook that some residents have raised the issue of motorized racing at the Kosciusko County Fairgrounds and the lawsuit that continues to drag on in court. He said he reached out to the fair board to learn more about the issue two weeks ago but never heard back. A hearing to consider a summary judgment in the case between nearby residents and the fair board last week was canceled and rescheduled for July 30 in Elkhart.
- Kosciusko County’s Republican Party somehow posted a rambling partisan rant on its Facebook page this week essentially advocating that conservatives secede from the country. Within hours (and a few dismayed comments), the post disappeared.
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DEM DEBATERS — I’m sure many in Kosciusko County will be glued to their TVs on Wednesday and Thursday for the two nights of Democratic debates. OK, honestly, I’m not sure if I’ll sit through all of both events. Ten candidates for two hours on consecutive nights is a lot to absorb. While many are speculating who will stand out, here’s my prediction: Six to eight of the 20 debaters — many of whom are the “one percenters” — will fail to see a boost in campaign funding from the debates and will drop out by Labor Day. It’s hard to imagine there will still be a dozen candidates campaigning by the time the Iowa Caucus rolls around on Feb. 3.
For those wondering, here’s the lineup for the upcoming debates:
Wednesday, June 26:
- Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
- Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
- Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland
- Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii
- Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro
- Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio
- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
- Washington Gov. Jay Inslee
Thursday, June 27:
- Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont
- Sen. Kamala Harris of California
- Former Vice President Joe Biden
- Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend
- Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado
- Author Marianne Williamson
- Rep. Eric Swalwell of California
- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
- Entrepreneur Andrew Yang
- Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado.
Dan Spalding covers city government and politics for InkFreeNews.
He can be reached at [email protected] or at (574) 855-7612.