Scott EidlerPolitics reporterScott.Eidler@newsday.com
I grew up clipping Newsday articles and summarizing them for the “current events” assignment in elementary school. Still, it took some time to realize I wanted to become a reporter.
My experiences studying policy analysis and management at Cornell cemented my path. In my studies, I analyzed what lawmakers and policymakers were proposing and could assess what went right and what went wrong. At Columbia Journalism School, I learned how to use what I knew to pursue a new role of reporting and storytelling.
My most essential training came at Newsday, where a summer internship led me to the past 11 years working as a reporter – the past five on the political desk.
In my role, I listen to heavily charged situations and try to break them down to their essential parts. What’s happening? Why is this issue so politicized? I use the same framework I learned in college to get to the core of a conflict. There are behind-the-scenes conversations happening everywhere – mostly at diners – stories untold, and feuds unmentioned. I try to bring them to light as best as I can, and with the proper context, so that the narratives we share are compelling and complete.
A good local story can be better than anything on streaming.
It’s led me to tackle important issues for Long Islanders, and my stories have led to a reform of ethics codes here. With colleagues, I’ve reported on a culture of sexual assault and misconduct at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and most recently, the way Rep. George Santos’ congressional campaign operated behind the scenes. I’ve also tried to capture history, detailing the way public officials managed the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, at personal risk.
Politics is behind everything, I’ve found. It’s why our taxes are so high. It’s why some towns recycle more than others.
I try to sift through it all and shape the local conversation. That means working to understand the connections, players and storylines. It’s usually over a cup of coffee, reading the day’s paper, with a spreadsheet or two in front of me.