KPC News Service
FORT WAYNE — The tables have turned.
Normally the one to be interviewed by reporters, northeast Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, got a chance to flip the script and interview a local journalist on his weekly podcast “Grounded with Jim Banks,” chatting with KPC Media Group Executive Editor Steve Garbacz.
In the third episode of his podcast, Banks sat down for an hour-long discussion with Garbacz to primarily discuss local news and the job reporters do to bring it to their readers in a changing media environment.
But they also took some detours to talk about Garbacz’s past appearance on “Jeopardy!” and discuss how COVID-19 has impacted northeast Indiana and the news.
“We’re going to have an interesting conversation today about a lot of things but most of all about journalism, print journalism and really what it’s like to be someone who reports the news at the local level,” Banks said in his intro to this week’s episode which became available online Tuesday morning.
Banks has represented northeast Indiana’s 3rd District since 2017 and recently won re-election this fall to his third term in Congress. This fall he launched a long-form podcast as a way to have more in-depth discussions with local voices from around his district.
In an introductory episode Banks talked with members of his district staff before his first two episodes featuring Pastor Raymond Dix of Pilgrim Baptist Church of Fort Wayne and Kayla Blakeslee, host of Fort Wayne’s Morning News on local talk radio station WOWO.
In his third episode, Banks sat down with Garbacz, who starting covering him during his initial candidacy for Congress in 2016 and has since followed the congressman’s service in Washington D.C. over the last four years.
“I remember first meeting you at the Pizza Depot in Albion to sit down and talk over some lunch about your campaign when you first got started, so certainly we cover a lot of area up here in the northeast corner, six counties,” Garbacz said, “so yeah, we cover most of your district.”
Garbacz, a 12-year local news reporter who started as a local government reporter with The News Sun in May 2015, has grown with KPC Media Group to become the editor of The News Sun in 2018 and was named executive editor in 2019, overseeing and guiding the editorial department of KPC’s daily and weekly products in DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble and Steuben counties.
Over the hour-long podcast Banks and Garbacz chat about the job of local news reporters in covering small community governments, the changing print media and local news landscape and the importance of the watchdog role media play in covering government.
Banks also took a detour to talk about Garbacz’s appearance on the evening quiz show “Jeopardy!” back in January 2018 and briefly discussed the challenges and work in reporting about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in northeast Indiana.
Anyone interested in listening can find all of Banks’ podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and elsewhere.