News release vs. interview

The day after reading that Republican Ken Buck reportedly thinks Jane Norton has a “lack of comfort discussing campaign issues with reporters,” I opened up the up-and-coming Denver Daily News and found a few hundred words from Jane Norton, beginning with this paragraph:

“It’s questionable which is more insulting: Senator Bennet’s hypocrisy on earmark reform or the fact that Republicans joined him to help kill this commonsense measure,” said Norton.

This looked quite articulate, and there was no indication that the statement came from a news release or other form of controlled campaign communication. So I emailed Denver Daily News Staff Writer Peter Marcus, who wrote the piece, and asked if he had interviewed Norton.

He replied that Norton’s words were extracted from a news release and that he usally does state when comments come from a news release.

The source of a quote (interview vs. news release) is important info for readers who may want to know if a reporter has had the opportunity to challenge a interviewee and follow up with critical questions.

Marcus wrote me: “I haven’t personally had trouble speaking with [Norton]. In fact, on caucus night, she was very available, and Nate, her communications director, has worked with me to get her on the phone.”

That’s good news, because it’s in the public interest for reporters to have access to candidates, Democrat and Republican, and to talk to them. And if they don’t have access, they should tell us about it.

It’s good to hear that the Denver Daily News is getting access and using it. With fewer media outles covering breaking political news, the Denver Daily News‘ original content has become an important part (and getting more so) of the local media scene.

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