Civic Cocktail Preview Q&A with Joni Balter

In anticipation for our upcoming Civic Cocktail on February 1st, we sat down with multimedia journalist Joni Balter, to preview topics we will be discussing with our panel of local journalist.

Q: What value does Civic Cocktail provide to its attendees?

A: Civic Cocktail is becoming the go-to place for intelligent, witty conversation about pressing ideas and events in Seattle and the rest of the region. People seem to love the fact that they can grab a cocktail and a bite of food and learn a lot about some local issue that requires more than a quick radio or TV take or even a short story in the newspaper. This is an evening of fun mixed with enlightening discussion.

Q: What aspect of journalism continues to draw you to the profession?

A: I love asking questions that perhaps no one else thought of. I love bearing witness to fascinating moments in Northwest history and writing and opining about those for radio, TV and print. Front seat to all of it. Lucky me.

Q: How will the 2016 Election affect the relationship between the professional media and voters?

A: The 2016 election did two things. It strained relationships between the media and voters, because some, ahem, politicians mocked pieces they didn’t like. You cannot invent your own factual reality. It also strengthened the relationship, that is, reinforced the need for, reliable media, as evidenced by the increasing number of subscribers to mainstream news outlets. I am eager to see the demographic breakdown of the new subscribers. Are they young, first-time readers/listeners now eager to support a news entity they can truly trust? That’s my best guess and sincere hope.

Q: How do you tackle the challenge of “fake news” in your reporting?

A: Even the popularity of the term “fake news” casts doubt on what we journalists do. I don’t do fake news. The people I have worked with for years do not do fake news. Journalists spend hours, days and weeks trying to tell stories that are factual. I built my relationships with sources over many years – and I am an overzealous fact-checker, as are my many colleagues. Fake news cannot become a convenient way of diminishing news stories someone doesn’t like. We journalists take this craft very seriously.

Register for Civic Cocktail, February 1st to Hear More!