Not three days back from D.C. and I’ve already redesigned my cubicle. Super PAC donation spreadsheets, hand-scrawled diagrams of money trails, knick-knacks from the Newseum. Some serious political feng shui going on. Totally nerding out.
You’d think two days of panel presentations would drive you nuts, but Sunlight put out an incredible spread. A host of pros covered everything from the basics of money in politics to tracking the paybacks for donors to figuring out how much broadcasters make on all those nasty attack ads. Of course, a lot of the seminar was directed toward covering the presidential race, something I’m not exactly in a prime position to do at a small alt-weekly in Montana. But the applications for federal, state and even local races were far beyond what I’d expected.
The real fun stuff came after, though. Hadn’t seen some of the old Kaimin gang in years, and we more than made up for it. Got rained out of the Nats game, but tossed back some primo scotch at the Jack Rose. I spent most of Monday morning drooling over the Newseum, particularly the exhibit on the changes in media coverage of presidential races (kinda pissed at the lack of alt-weekly representation throughout the museum, but whatever). Cursed the fact that I ran out of time to see the Ethics Center, then promptly cursed myself for being that geeky. Monday night was more low-key, but I got my weekly pub trivia fix with Emma and Eleena. Only wish I’d had more time before my flight on Tuesday to give the Museum of the American Indian a more thorough perusing.
Now it’s back to the grindstone. Got a feature assignment looming, and my eyes are blurring from sifting through political donation spreadsheets for two straight days. I’m working on an interesting story next week connecting western Montana to some national buzz, and it’s taking everything I learned from Sunlight to pull it together. Don’t know what I’d do without Influence Explorer, but I see I’m nerding out again. Time for some beer, some bbq, maybe a little weekend disc golf if the weather holds out. Next week is Craft Beer Week, so I’ll be sure to stop by with some non-political shit to share. Provided I haven’t had too many.