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Beating the spin: Top tips to stay true in local political reporting

The SPJ Fall Continuing Education program kicks off Tuesday with a special election coverage session from 7 to 8 p.m. at Fisher Plaza. Cost is free to members and $10 for everyone else. Pizza will be hot and ready to eat at the beginning of the session.

Please RSVP here:

Whether you are a veteran political reporter or are jumping into political coverage for the first time, this will be a session you don’t want to miss. Chris Grygiel, Washington state news editor for The Associated Press, will lead this conversation about political journalism in 2012. Specifically Grygiel will dive into how social media affects and influences reporting and campaigning.

Get to know Grygiel better by reading the Q&A below:

1.     What is your favorite thing about covering politics?

When covering politics reporters have a chance to interact with policymakers and delve into the big issues of the day. Done well, political reporting combines great storytelling with probing investigative work.      

2.     Has social media changed the way local politics are covered? If so, how?

Social media has definitely changed the way all politics are covered. Everyone – from candidates to campaigns to journalists – uses social media to promote themselves and to engage with others. The candidates and campaigns use social media like Twitter to “spin” news as it’s happening, but they often get real-time pushback from journalists, opponents and voters.

3.     What advice do you have for journalists or bloggers that are just now diving into political coverage?

A question I always ask young journalists or bloggers is – who are you reading? In the last decade journalism has gone from a speech (reporters talking to readers and viewers) to a conversation (reporters engaging with people, sources and colleagues on the Web). It’s important that journalists be aware of all the media in their market or chosen coverage area. I also urge them to concentrate on the basics. For print, that’s clear, concise writing. The platforms will change (newspapers, the Web, social media, video) but the core skills remain the same.

4. Anything else you want to say to those thinking about coming to your session?

This is an exciting and challenging time to be in the media. There are tremendous opportunities out there.

  • jamesian
    Posted at 11:08h, 19 October

    Just want to invite everyone at SPJ-WASH to event on Oct. 23 about social media in elections. Event is FREE at Pacific Science Center. Details at
    and includes the creator of the Living Voters’s Guide. Great session. Will also be livestreamed and Storify after.