Former TV journalist turned mayoral candidate Nadine Woodward won’t do phone or in-person interviews with the alternative weekly newspaper the Inlander.
Woodward has canceled multiple interviews with the publication, according to Editor Jacob Fries. She told the Inlander in a phone call last Friday that she would only answer questions via email because she believed the reporter had an agenda and that the publication had covered some candidates in a biased way.
Woodward was rumored for a long time to be a political candidate before she retired from KXLY in February. Her 30-year television career also included working for KREM. Her work included government reporting and moderating the debate between congressional candidates Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Lisa Brown.
In a brief phone interview with The Spokesman-Review on Thursday afternoon, Woodward declined to comment on any of the specifics in an Inlander story about her refusal to do interviews, saying it was an issue between an individual publication and her.
When asked if she would pledge to not exclude any media outlets if she were elected mayor, Woodward declined to comment, saying she would speak to the issue later, once she meets with Fries.
City Council President Ben Stuckart compared his opponent to controversial Spokane Valley state Rep. Matt Shea, who regularly ignores media requests for comment.
Woodward, called the comparison laughable, saying it was a “diversion from (Stuckart’s) seven years of failed policies.”
Stuckart said Woodward’s comments in the Inlander set a bad precedent for political candidates, saying in-person or phone interviews show the public how candidates think on their feet, which is a skill they need to govern effectively.
Fries said the Inlander stands by its reporting on Woodward. He said he hopes Woodward will change her email policy and meet with Inlander reporters.
“We’re reluctant to ever want to be a part of the story, but we felt we didn’t have a choice,” he said.
Stuckart and business owner Jonathan Bingle, one of Woodward’s three other opponents, pledged they wouldn’t restrict media access if they were elected mayor. Bingle said if he disagreed with a story, he would still talk to the reporter or their publication, but maybe put out a statement outlining his side of what happened.
“Obviously, you have relationships you like or dislike, and you have reporters you like and dislike,” he said. “But I would never shut out an entire outlet.”
Mayoral candidates Shawn Poole and Kelly Cruz did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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