Sometimes you look at the news, and it is you
Sometimes you have to go find the news. That takes effort, skill and determination. Sometimes, the news finds you and to cover it well, you have to react with the same set of skills. Yesterday, the news found WNPR.
For those of you not following the story, it starts with an investigation by Ted Mann of the New London Day into a project funded by the state Office of Policy and Management, and run by UConn professor Ken Dautrich. The 30 month-long project was meant to provide a guide to streamline state government...but also included a "focus group" study that asked a series of political questions about leadership and possible challengers to Governor Jodi Rell. More digging by Mann showed that Dautrich was proposing a full-blown poll, paid for by taxpayers, in consultation with top Rell advisor Lisa Moody.
The story has infuriated Democrats, who are calling for investigations into what they call a "major ethical breach" by an administration that came into power preaching clean government. Blogs went crazy. Here's where it gets strange for us: Dautrich is a regular political commentator on The Faith Middleton Show's weekly roundtable, "Politics, Burgers & Beer" - who has appeared as an analyst on Where We Live, and special WNPR political coverage. Yesterday, oddly, was to be the first day back for the panel discussion, following a summer hiatus.
So, instead of tackling the planned set of Washington political fare, the show quickly moved to get Dautrich to agree to appear and talk about the issue, with reporter Mann and the panel's other regular guest, Quinnipiac University's Rich Hanley. The hour was riveting radio - addressing the issue head-on in a thoughtful way. The conversation provided important insight and discussion, and as colleague Colin McEnroe put it, "we owned the story for that hour."
Aside from the Day, there's more information and analysis on Colin's blog and the excellent Capitol Watch blog from the Courant; Ken Dixon of the Connecticut Post writes about it; and of course there's news from Christine Stuart of ctnewsjunkie.com.
On our end, I just wanted to extend thanks to Faith Middleton, Lori Mack and Cam Henning for quickly putting together an important show, and thanks to Colin McEnroe, Catie Talarski, John Nowacki, Ray Hardman and Libby Conn from our Hartford newsroom for help in coverage.
It's not always comfortable when you're the news, but when you are...best advice: Own it.