Sunday, March 16, 2008

Interviewing Ralph Nader

Once in a while, I get to do something cool at work. Today, I interviewed U.S. presidential hopeful Ralph Nader.

This is Nader's fifth run for president. He is 74 years old. He is not affiliated with Republicans or Democrats, which makes his hopes to reach the White House almost impossible.

But Nader differs from those random odd-jobs who decide to run one year, get their 15 minutes of fame, and then drop off the face of the earth. Nader actually has a reputation. He is known as a "consumer advocate," a "social critic" and a "public defender."

His chances of actually becoming president are slim, and he knows it. What he is trying to do is raise awareness of what he says is a flawed electorate system, to stir a debate, bring some change about and open up the presidential race for other people.

One of the towns The Register Citizen covers is Winsted, CT. This also happens to be Ralph Nader's hometown. Nader is still registered to vote in Winsted and still has very strong ties to the area, even though he rarely participates in local events unless it is held to promote one of his many books. However, it isn't often a local resident decides to run for president.
I've written about him before, a couple of brief articles and one editorial.

Since my work with the weekend section is now minimal, my boss and I have discussed other things I can do. All I want to do is write; it's all I've ever wanted to do, although I kept getting into editing because people told me I would be so good at it. My boss now told me I can write an enterprise story a week for our Saturday or Sunday paper.
I can't explain how good it feels to have that exciting feeling in the pit of my stomach again. "My name will be in the paper!" Talking to people on the phone, prying information from people's twisted minds, understanding complicated statistics, getting to the bottom of things... this is what life is all about.
An in-depth feature article on Ralph Nader is in the planning stages. I will post a link when it is published.


ab said...

There are many reasons for admiring Ralph Nader, but didn't he draw attention to the flawed electorate system last time...? ;)

Nice blog, Viktoria!

Vickan said...

Thanks, A.B.!

Of course he did. But if he wants to spend $40,000 of his own money to bring some more attention to the matter, why not?

My main feeling after the interview was that he is a cool guy, no longer just a candidate you read about in the paper. (It is so much easier to hate someone you've never talked to). He had a nice sense of humor, and he was really easy to interview. I.e., he let me ask all my questions, didn't avoid answering anything and didn't give me too much political baloney. He even laughed a couple of times, and he acted like he had all the time in the world to talk to me. Could it get better than that?

Nick Stokes said...

I'm so glad you've had the epiphany that I hope all editors will have after talking with someone that have previously deemed, "Uncool" or a "Jerk"

I know an editor, who basically bashed a certain mayor for his whole 2 year term. Of all the politicians I've worked with in my short journalistic career, I find said mayor to be very accessible, accomodating and most importantly, he always calls you back. How disheartening it is when the big boss calls out this mayor in an editorial as says he's "done nothing" for the city, when this editor doesn't even live in the state. Ugh, sorry, that one will always bug me.

Zac said...

Hi Viktoria, long time no see.

It feels kind of awkward to write to you in english but anyway, I'll give it a try :)

Interviewing Ralph Nader, way to go! I really would like to meet that man. Very interesting person indeed and some one who deserves so much more attention then he gets.

Take care and thanks for remembering my birthday!

Vickan said...

Walt (Posting as Nick Stokes from CSI): Some editors are better than others. I will just leave it at that.

Zac: Perhaps if you come over for a visit I can arrange a meeting with my new best friend... I'll let you know if he still likes me after the story runs.

Also, you don't have to write in English if you don't want to. Some readers get upset, though, and keep asking me what everything means... I'll just tell them, "you are not svensk."