Situation Wanted

Headline: Situation Wanted by Evan Smith

The revolving door between politics and the media is swinging furiously in New York and Washington, D.C., so why should it be any different in Austin? In this year’s race for attorney general, for instance, the major party candidates have hired journalists as their spokespersons: Audrey Duff, the politics editor of the Austin Chronicle , signed on with Democrat Jim Mattox in early April, and Michele Kay, a political reporter for the Austin American-Statesman , joined Republican John Cornyn’s campaign in early June. Why did they go over the wall? Cornyn is “a really good guy,” says Kay. Mattox is “someone I believe in,” says Duff. Beyond the niceties, both women say they were looking for a new challenge, though for one of them it’s only going to last until November. What then? Kay admits it would be hard to go back to covering politics after being part of it—but then, with Cornyn expected to win, she may not have to worry. Not so for Duff, who says she’ll be “a hotter commodity” after seeing politics from the inside. Well, at least one potential employer doesn’t see it that way. “I love Audrey, but I wouldn’t rehire her—at least not right off,” says her old boss, Chronicle editor Louis Black. “A political sensibility and a journalistic sensibility are radically different. Once somebody has crossed that line, you don’t want her back.”

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