Dan Kraker and Sources

When I read the works of Dan Kraker, the first thing I notice is the variety of connections and sources that can be used to grasp different backgrounds of readership.

I notice with Kraker that he appears to be writing to understand a topic just as much as he is trying to inform his readers. While he’s obviously very familiar with his topics of discussion, his exhaustive search for multiple opinions and sources is evident in the work he produces.

A good place to find an example of this is in his climate change in Minnesota piece.

In the piece, he talks to a weather expert based out of North Carolina to get what I feel to be a more “detached” source. What I mean is, this isn’t a Minnesota local who’s talking about the consequences on the region they live in, it’s a scientific researcher who has only scientific data to direct their concerns about the area.

Having an “unaffected” source shows the readership that this issue is broader than just a local or state issue.

In the same sense that he brought in someone not directly related to the happenings of Duluth, I think it was cool how he also connected someone very close to the issues in the town by talking to Mayor Don Ness. His ability to talk about how the town was financially affected by the climate change brings to light just how much more is at stake with this issue.

Most people don’t think economics in relation to climate changes. Who would consider the $450 million poured into flood relief? If the fate of the world doesn’t grasp someone’s attention, dollar signs usually will. Attacking an issue from different angles makes it more likely to connect with more readership.

I think that this style of writing all comes down to source work so I would ask Dan Kraker about his interviewing process. Who does he talk about during his interviews? How many interviews does he usually do? Does he spend time familiarizing himself with the people to about to interview beforehand and if so, how so? How often does he just get lucky and find different leads and directions to go with a story?

Some of these may be generic questions but I feel like this incredibly important. Kraker used his sources and expansive connections to draw in a wider range of readership and that’s a skill I want to learn and exploit.