Daniel Weintraub, Journalist & Columist, The Sacramento
Bee & The California Insider Weblog: 17th
keeping with Media Man Australia's tradition of tackeling
any subject, we explore the man who juggles traditional
journalism with blogging!
Weintraub has been doing his thing for 20 years, and
is currently keepin the world up to date with the
daily happenings in the race for the Califonia election.
interview was requested and published in a record
What's your background?
been a journalist for 20 years, including 16 covering
the California Capitol. I've worked for the Los Angeles
Times, the Orange County Register and now the Sacramento
Bee. I write three columns a week for the opinion
page of the Bee, and those columns are printed in
papers throughout California. I also write the California
Insider weblog, at www.sacbee.com/insider.
The blog is a collection of breaking news, analysis
and commentary on California politics. I update it
frequently during the day.
did you get your break in media?
was lucky enough to get three full-time summer internships
with the Los Angeles Times while I was in college
at San Diego State University. When I graduated, the
Times hired me, first as a temporary fill-in and then
as a full-time reporter.
do you most enjoy about your job?
something new every day, and explaining complicated
subjects to people who don't have the time or the
access to master them on their own.
do you prefer to cover the most, and why?
call it the connection between politics and policy
- the place where all that business that happens on
the campaign trail is translated into laws and regulations
that actually affect peoples' lives.
its possible to qualify it, how much attention have
you and The Sacramento Bee garnered by the current
election? (I'm writing to you from Sydney, Australia
and our newspapers are reporting on the election and
ton. My weblog, which I started in April, is generating
more than 20,000 hits a day, which I think puts it
among the top 10 or 20 blogs in the country. I've
also been asked to appear on national news shows almost
daily since the recall campaign began.
fair has the reporting on the election been?
think it's been quite fair. In the early stages the
media tended to dismiss the recall as a project of
right-wing cranks. But many reporters took it seriously.
And once the recall campaign got big money behind
it, journalists pretty much accepted as fact that
the measure would qualify. I think coverage of the
candidates, which is just beginning, has been fair
political "dirt" are you willing to bring
up on Arnold or any of the other candidates?
have a pretty black and white view of it. It's newsworthy
if it pertains to the job they hold (if a public office)
or are running for. If you're talking about sex stories,
I believe those are news only if there are serious,
credible allegations that laws were broken.
things look on my mate, Arnold, from where you sit?
has an excellent chance, but it is going to be a tough
campaign. There are several other Republicans in the
race draining support from him, and only one Democrat,
so the Democrats can unite behind their own. Arnold
has the potential to explode our traditional boundaries
around politics and energize voters who have traditionally
tuned out of the process and stayed home on Election
Day. But he also could screw up and see his support,
which is broad but not deep, come crashing down.
has the Arnold Campaign been so successful?
don't know that I would rate it a success just yet.
His best chance is that he has built in support as
a celebrity, yet he has a background and views that
might lead people to see him as much more than just
you think the general public can see that Arnold Schwarzenegger
is a man of substance, who educated himself, worked
hard, and is now living the American dream?
he runs a good campaign, that's exactly how they will
see him. If he continues to hire fellow movie stars
like Rob Lowe, they might see him as just another
recently interviewed Lorraine (Abner Zurd) Fontanes.
How's she looking?
haven't been following her closely.
Californians voting with their hearts, his policies
or a combination of things?
far his support is mostly emotional. He's going to
have to build on that in order to win.
your predication on the election?
almost never made predictions. But before Arnold jumped
in, I said I thought if he ran, he'd win. I'm not
as sure of that now as I was when I said it, but I'll
stand by it.
your workload like at the moment? - eg 20 hours per
day, bigger than usual....
16 to 18 hours a day, about double what is normal.
I am also jumping on breaking news. As a columnist,
I was sitting back a bit and doing more analysis.
the best thing about working for the Sac Bee?
leadership at the paper is tremendously supportive
of everything I do.
other media coverage have You received?
have appeared on CNN, FOXNews, CNBC, MSNBC, Lehrer
News Hour, and many radio shows, but mostly as an
analyst. The weblog
is receiving a lot of attention, mostly in journalism
did your online newspaper, and your own website /
blogger come about?
decided on my own a while back to do an electronic
newsletter of items I'd collected that never made
it into a column. In a brainstorming session earlier
this year with our online shop, we just decided to
make it a blog. We had no idea at the time that the
recall was around the corner. Just dumb luck.
you write differently for web as to print?
web entries tend to be more casual, more chatty. The
print stuff is slightly more formal. Although I have
always been told I write in a fairly conversational
do you think Americans generally like Australians?
- they do, don't they : )
Maybe it's the accent. Aussies also seem friendly,
and fun-loving. They remind me of Canadians. Not taking
life too seriously. Our family skis in the Sierra
just about every weekend in the winter, and the resort
that is our usual spot is staffed almost completely
by Aussies. We love 'em.
is our Prime Minister, John Howard, perceived in the
is not known by the general public at all, or at least
wasn't before Iraq. His support of Bush raised his
profile a bit, in a positive way, but I'd guess fewer
than 1 percent of Americans know his name.
the desire to be the best I can be at whatever I am
doing at the moment. More broadly, to help people
understand the world they live in, especially what
government is doing for them and to them. I believe
fiercely in self-government, self-determination and
individual responsibility, and I believe that none
of these things can flourish without a free press.
I'm proud to be part of it.
do you create balance in your life?
I love my job, I have always seen it as a route to
create the kind of life I want to live, spending time
with my wife and my two sons, and my friends, getting
outdoors and enjoying the natural environment, or
traveling to the cities I love. I've never tried to
get or hang onto a job that required me to sacrifice
those things. As it's turned out, I've been able to
have the things I value and have a job I love. I guess
do you do to relax?
hike, ski and snowboard, hang with my kids, go to
films, eat out with friends.
would you like to remembered?
someone who always gave everything he did his best,
and was trustworthy, dependable and a good friend.
note: A most interestig read. Very informatice, especially
when you consider that Daniel is in the middle of
covering one of the host important, certainly hyped,
elections of all time.
look forward to turning to Daniel for the daily accounts
of all of the action in California.
California Insider - Weblog of Daniel Weintraub
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Man Australia: Article - Arnold Schwarzenegger: King
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