After 30 years, politics as ‘crazy’ as ever for Hartford Courant Capitol Bureau Chief Chris Keating

By Gino DeAn­ge­lis, UConn Journalism
Novem­ber 1, 2018

Chris Keat­ing has been report­ing on pol­i­tics in Con­necti­cut for near­ly 30 years. Since join­ing the Hart­ford Courant in 1990, Keat­ing has report­ed on every governor’s race since then. He even met Sovi­et Pre­mier Mikhail Gor­bachev dur­ing a head-of-state meet­ing with Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush.

I’ve been [in Hart­ford] most of the time. I was out of the capi­tol for two years, and I cov­ered the courts full time,” Keat­ing said. The reporter said he spends about 95 per­cent of his time cov­er­ing the goings-on in the state leg­is­la­ture, the governor’s office and oth­er statewide polit­i­cal offices.

Keat­ing said that while he usu­al­ly cov­ers the news for polit­i­cal “junkies,” he also tries to reach a wider audience.

We deal a lot with the polit­i­cal junkies. There’s peo­ple in the gen­er­al pub­lic that don’t pay atten­tion to it,” he said. “But many peo­ple pay atten­tion and vote at elec­tion time. We write for a super broad audience.”

There’s rarely a dull day on the polit­i­cal beat, he said.

It’s quite insane and some peo­ple don’t like it because it’s a crazy busi­ness,” Keat­ing said. “Pol­i­tics is a tough sport. It’s a bit of a blood sport. There’s a lot of peo­ple who don’t want us to know what’s going on, whether it’s because they’re doing some­thing bad or what­ev­er. I’ve writ­ten a lot of sto­ries about a lot of politi­cians who have gone to prison.”

Despite some changes he’s seen in local pol­i­tics, Keat­ing said that in the end, the way the news should be report­ed hasn’t changed much.

The biggest change is we don’t have as many reporters cov­er­ing [pol­i­tics]” he said. “We’re always spend­ing an incred­i­ble amount of time try­ing to get it right.”

And when it comes to the upcom­ing elec­tion, Keating’s report­ing has shown him that it’s a toss-up between Demo­c­rat Ned Lam­ont and Repub­li­can Bob Ste­fanows­ki.

It’s a real­ly hot race. Either of them could win,” Keat­ing said. “A huge fac­tor would be the State Sen­ate. The two hugest things, the two races, could go either way.”

Top pho­to of Chris Keat­ing cour­tesy of Hart­ford Courant