National media flood slows to a trickle in Janesville
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JANESVILLE It started Aug. 11 when TV vans lined the streets near Paul Ryan's Janesville home.
For weeks, reporters from around the world went to the Janesville Farmers Market, Rock Aqua Jays shows and downtown bars searching for Janesvillians willing to talk about living in the hometown of a vice presidential candidate.
After casting his own ballot Tuesday morning shortly before 9 a.m. at Hedberg Public Library, Ryan left for Cleveland and then Boston. Much of the media frenzy appeared to go with him.
More than 30 members of the local, regional and national press crowded around the Ryans at the library. By the end of the day, most of the news teams in Janesville were from Wisconsin and the Midwest.
Chicago Sun Times reporter Stefano Esposito was one of a 30 or so reporters covering the Republican watch party at Janesville's Holiday Inn Express. He had been at the local party in August when Ryan spoke at the Republican National Convention, he said.
Before visiting Janesville, Esposito had incorrectly assumed everyone in town would be a Ryan supporter.
"It is fascinating to me," Esposito said. "In Ryan's own neighborhood, there are Obama yard signs. I saw one yard with both Obama and Romney/Ryan signs."
Harald Maaland is another journalist who came to Janesville to cover the election. By Election Day, he was back in his office watching American television and wondering how the Stavanger Aftenblad would make deadline.
Stavanger is a city of 126,000 on the southwest coast of Norway. "Aftenblad" means "evening paper," Maaland said Tuesday afternoon on the phone from his Norway office.
Maaland was in Wisconsin in late October to write a story about the presidential election. He chose Wisconsin because it is a battleground state and because many people of Norwegian descent live here, Maaland said.
"We tried to meet as many people, ordinary people, as we could," Maaland said about his visit. "We didn't concentrate on the politicians."
During his visit, he went to Madison, Milwaukee and northern Wisconsin. He spent an afternoon in Janesville.
Maaland observed that many Wisconsinites are tired of political quarrelling and polarization. Voters would like to see "people with a more pragmatic view. Politicians with the will and the ability to cooperate," Maaland said.
The visit was Maaland's first to Wisconsin. He found it a beautiful and—like much of the United States—friendly place, Maaland said.
"Americans are generally very open and easy to start talking with," Maaland said. "They're not afraid to voice their opinions.
"That goes for either political side."