Kicking Dicker off his perch will be a tough slog, and may not be what Benjamin wants in the long run. She describes her days as “grueling.” Most mornings, she wakes in the dark before heading to a local Starbucks to get the blog rolling and to send off e-mails; the baristas have memorized her order: a red-eye with a shot of sugar-free hazelnut. She’s at YNN by 9 a.m., takes a two hour workout break—swimming, running, cycling—then blogs, conducts interviews, breaks news, and gets the show together. She tapes at 8 p.m. and leaves the studio at 9 p.m.; she can be up until 3 a.m. responding to reader e-mails. “I don’t want to do it forever, but I don’t know what else I’d do.”
A new blog? I ask. In D.C., perhaps? Her sensibilities seem tailor-made for the Beltway. She’s had offers. “There’s a lot of people who think if you’re a political reporter worth your salt you have to go to D.C.,” says Benjamin, who has never left the state for a job. “But my dad had his whole career in the same place. He told me that there’s a benefit to being a biggish fish in a smallish pond.” Other biggish fish have been warned.
*Correction: I originally wrote that Benjamin and Dicker were the only state-based reporters to score sit-downs with Cuomo. This has been amended to reflect the fact that they were the only state-based broadcast reporters to get that scoop. New York Times Albany reporter Nicholas Confessore sat down with Cuomo for ninety minutes in October. The report from that interview—with some audio excerpts—can be found here. Joel.