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

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