Lynn Sweet, The “Specialist”

The New York Observer profiles Lynn Sweet, the Chicago Sun-Times’ Washington bureau chief and Obama campaign reporter. Says Sweet:

“I don’t write a story saying how Obama came out of the rough-and-tumble of Chicago politics,” she said, quietly and forcefully in her Chicago accent—she’s lived there nearly 40 years. “Because in my experience, he was able to avoid the rough-and-tumble of Chicago politics. Au contraire! He didn’t come up through the system.”

A compliment from one fellow campaign reporter:

“When you’re watching a press conference with Obama and he’s trying to weasel out of something, you’ll hear him getting interrupted three or four times and he’s usually saying ‘Lynn! Wait, Lynn,’” said Glenn Thrush, the Newsday reporter covering the Democratic primary. “Of all the people who cover Obama, she’s the one who holds him most accountable.”

A (back-handed?) compliment from another:

“She is an in-the-moment specialist,” said Jeff Zeleny, the New York Times Obama reporter, who covered him with the Chicago Tribune as well. “Her role, and I think it is carved out intentionally, is in-the-moment blow-by-blow and a chronicler of what he’s doing.”

Which is almost exactly how TNR, back in March, described the work done by Sweet and her fellow members of the “beer track” or “lunch pail set” in Obama’s press corps versus the type of reporting done by Zeleny and his fellow members of the “wine track” or “white collar set” in the Obama press corps (the former chronicle “every twist and turn of the campaign” while the latter “assume a more analytical posture,” “stringing together a ‘’larger narrative…’”)

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.