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NPR's Lead Political Editor Talks National Politics, Modern Journalism

Domenico Montanaro is the lead political editor for NPR. May 3, 2019.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Politically speaking, Domenico Montanaro has just about seen it all. As NPR’s lead political editor, he is now in the midst of covering what will be his fourth presidential election as a journalist, and he has also covered the U.S. Supreme Court and the 2014 protests in Ferguson.

Montanaro joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Shahla Farzan on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air. He explained that one of the challenges for covering national politics in 2019 is that the sheer amount of news can be overwhelming both for journalists and the public.

“In the first year-and-a-half or so of the Trump presidency, people were really tuning in. They were clicking on stories,” he said. “And we're starting to see that level off a little bit, which I think is pretty indicative of the fact that it's just a repeated cycle of a lot of the same kinds of stories that then don't seem to move the needle very much at all.”

Because of this news avalanche, Montanaro said that one of his team’s main tasks is trying to strike a balance between keeping up with the everyday news cycle and keeping an eye on undercovered issues.

“You want to have a lane where you're doing original reporting, your reporters are explaining a lot of things that people might not being paying attention to — thinking about regulations ... drug pricing, China's role in the United States,” he explained. “We're really trying to focus in original lanes but we also have to be on top of the news too.”

Montanaro also touched on other challenges facing modern journalists, the crowded Democratic field for the 2020 presidential election and how three years of teaching high school English were the perfect preparation for life as an on-air reporter.

Listen to the full conversation:

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. “St. Louis on the Air” producers Alex Heuer, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan andJon Lewis give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Jon Lewis was the production intern at St. Louis Public Radio from January to May 2019. Originally from Pelham, New York, Jon came to St. Louis to attend Washington University in 2015. Previously, Jon has interned for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Eight by Eight, a soccer magazine based in Brooklyn.

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