Interview: Long Time AP Reporter Dale Wetzel Talks About New Venture in Covering North Dakota Politics

Dale_Wetzel_Headshot

Earlier this week I wrote about a new media venture started by the Bakken Beacon, owned by former NDGOP Chairman Gary Emineth and conservative talk radio host Scott Hennen, which got a real shot in the arm when 28-year Associated Press veteran Dale Wetzel joined their ranks.

Wetzel was nice enough to let me interview him about this new project, why he chose to get involved and how it will differ from his old job.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DBOzJTHHQg&w=640&h=480]

One of the chief criticisms already being leveled at the Bakken Beacon, which will push content to the Great Plains Examiner (a monthly newspaper based in Bismarck) as well as the two radio stations it owns in Fargo and Tioga, is that it will be a right-wing media source given the politics of its ownership.

I asked Wetzel about that, and he said it’s “not unreasonable to be suspicious.” He said that the questions critics are asking are the same questions he would ask, but that he hopes people “judge the product.”

Speaking about his own politics, Wetzel says he tends to be “pliable” but that he voted for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson in the presidential election last month. He says he is “extremely suspicious of government power,” but attributes that less to ideology than just a common sense feeling all citizens should have.

Asked what’s different about this new media venture from his work at the Associated Press, Wetzel says he’ll enjoy more flexibility. “The AP is a wonderful organization,” he told me, but added “in this venture I don’t have to consult with anyone.” He said he looks forward to creating content without needing input from people out of state who might not understand the local significance.

Wetzel says his radio show will begin on January 7th, airing from 7 – 9pm on KFYR in Bismarck, KTGO in Tioga and AM1100 in Fargo. He also said that they plan to begin re-publishing the Great Plains Examiner, which has been on hiatus, some time in mid-January.

You’ll be able to follow all of Dale’s content at GreatPlainsExaminer.com.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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