Know the Legislators

via davistim.com

via davistim.com

We should all know who is representing us in our hometowns. That should go without saying.

As reporters, we also need to know who represents our towns. It’s a must. It’s good to know and those legislators are a great resource.

They may like to talk a lot, but they know what’s going on. They are invaluable at times. It’s important to realize that.

I’ve met most of our town’s legislators, including state senators and representatives. I’ve met a couple members of Congress, as well. To their credit, legislators remember faces and, most of the time, can pick you out of a crowd. It’s key to make a good impression with all of them, though. It’ll pay off for you in the long run.

They are crucial for stories that need an extra voice. Those stories could be a hot topic in a town or region you are covering. Chances are they know about it and would be more than willing to talk about it. And if it has anything to do with money, make the call anyway. Legislators love talking about constituents and their money.

Since I don’t cover the Capitol, I rely on the Chronicle’s local legislators for news and happenings in Hartford. You have to realize that most ideas are along party lines, but it’s nice to get an inside view of how the state is running and what new is wrong with it. I’m fascinated by it and, frankly, really like talking to them.

They are regular people, who make jokes and have regular jobs, but they know how to talk and they can give really, really great quotes if you give them the opportunity. And trust me, they want their names in the paper.

This was just something to think about.

I must caution that they can be tough to get in touch with on a short notice. That’s true for everyone, but you also have to rely on their press aides, at times, to make sure you either get a statement or a call back from them. It’s not an ideal way to get a quick quote or statement, but it adds to the story and puts another voice on the topic.

Think about it.

Jonathan

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