Haven't I seen you before? Why news reports quote the same people

“I’ve covered Mitch McConnell for 30 years,” he says. “I guess if I were me, I’d call me.”

This kind of thing happens all the time. Every state seems to have some expert — a political scientist or reporter — that all the out-of-state media know to call to gain a sense of the landscape.

“My record giving interviews was 15 in one day,” says Kenneth Warren, a political scientist and pollster at Saint Louis University. “I had to laugh because I literally kept The New York Times on hold.”

It’s not just politics. There are experts in any field you can name whom reporters will turn to when they’re on tight deadlines and need a quick quote.

“You almost have to actively fight it as a journalist,” says Stephen Ward, a journalism professor at the University of Oregon. “You really have to buck that trend and watch out that you’re not narrowed down.”

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