Todd Zwillich, Washington correspondent for The Takeaway from Public Radio International, was on Julie Mason’s “Press Pool” show this afternoon on the SiriusXM POTUS channel.
Zwillich discussed the dynamics of a political beat reporter in Washington and how important relationships with politicians, their staffers and even colleagues in the press are. In order to build a collective list of valuable sources, political beat reporters have to essentially become part of the “institution,” even when a reporter’s primary interest is supposed to be the general public. Zwillich mentions how some reporters take an alternative, which is to become an adversarial reporter looking for scandals and dirty laundry. Going that route, however, means you burn your chance at ever obtaining first-hand sources. Such reporters must instead rely on public records and second or third hand sources.
Without revealing anything, Zwillich discussed what its like to know the dirty laundry (illegal activities, who’s sleeping with who) of so many prominent people within the beltway and weighing the options of when such information is worth bringing to the public’s attention.
It was a fascinating discussion, that took place during the final 15 or 20 minutes of the 3 p.m. CT hour. I recommend that anyone who has Sirius XM and can listen to the “Press Pool” replay, either tonight on the POTUS channel or via on-demand do so.