Last week, Milwaukee was one of four cities nationwide that participated in NPR's A Nation Engaged project. The idea behind the project was to gather together citizens to ask them what they wanted the incoming Presidential administration to know about their towns and cities.
Milwaukee’s event was moderated by NPR’s National Political Correspondent Don Gonyea, who stressed the importance of events that bring reporters into the field, particularly in swing states like Wisconsin.
"I always feel that the most important reporting that I do is when I'm out in the world talking to people," he says. "Talking to people about what the administration is doing, what congress is doing, and how they're reacting to it, how it affects their lives, how they perceive it will affect their lives - which isn't always an accurate reflection of what is being discussed, but it tells me what is filtering back to communities around the country."
Going into the field allows him to get insight from people who wouldn't otherwise meet in his daily routine as a White House correspondent. "Working out of kind of both places, way outside the beltway and also inside the White House bubble, it gives you knowledge to bring into the bubble. And then the bubble gives you knowledge to help you ask better questions on the outside," he says.
Gonyea is a veteran journalist who started at NPR as a White House correspondent when George W. Bush first took office in 2001. With all the excitement of the up-coming inauguration, he says there's still a lot of questions about how the new administration will interact with the press.
"We don't know, for example, if there'll be say, the daily briefing," Gonyea explains. "Every day at a certain time, you'll at least be able to put the questions of the day as a group, as the press corps, to the press secretary. We don't know that that's going to continue... There's so much we don't know."