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StoryCorps In Kansas City — A Journalist And Doctor Grapple With Politics At Work

Shweta Goswami and Michael Bushnell talked about how they navigate politics in their workplaces.
Shweta Goswami and Michael Bushnell talked about how they navigate politics in their workplaces.

KCUR is part of StoryCorps' One Small Step initiative to bring together people of differing political opinions for real conversations. This is one we've chosen to highlight.

Northeast News publisher Michael Bushnell has to wrestle with politics in his work all the time. 

"I write an opinion column every week, and 9 times out of 10 it falls on the conservative side," Bushnell says. "But it's more common sense than it is anything else, I think."

Outside of the column, Bushnell says he has to take a more objective approach and make sure that readers are getting just the facts. He also wants to uphold his team's credibility in their community, and getting overtly political in any direction could tarnish that.

"There's been times I have to abandon my politics and just write it straight up," Bushnell says. "I've got to do the "who, what, where, when, why, how" and put it down on a page."

Shweta Goswami also has had to confront politics in her work as a physician. She recalls once treating a patient with a rare lymphoma that had spread to his brain. The cancer caused him to become disinhibited — he would say whatever came to his mind.

"Everyday he would come up to me and ask me if he could see my husband in the clinic," Goswami says. "Out of nowhere, he says, 'Is it because I'm a Trump voter?'

Goswami says the man's wife pleaded with him to not bring up politics again so he could continue to get care, but Goswami never took his politics into consideration.

"I saw him every day for a month and a half and never once did I ever look at him and go, 'I bet you're a Trump voter,'" Goswami says. "The only thing that was on my mind was this poor guy who was really healthy, supported his family and now he's down with this really rare cancer that most people find out when they're dead."Matthew Long-Middleton is a community producer for KCUR 89.3. Follow him on Twitter@MLMIndustries.

Ron Jones is KCUR's director of community engagement.

Cody Newill is an audience development specialist for KCUR 89.3. Follow him on Twitter@CodyNewill.

Copyright 2021 KCUR 89.3. To see more, visit KCUR 89.3.

Matthew has been involved in media since 2003. While hosting a show on his college radio station, he quickly realized the influence, intimacy and joys of radio. After graduating from Kenyon College he had a brief stint as a short-order cook in exotic Gambier, Ohio. He then joined Murray Street Productions as the marketing manager. At Murray Street he also conducted interviews, produced podcasts, wrote scripts for Jazz at Lincoln Center Radio, and made the office computers hum. In addition to working at Murray Street, Matthew has done freelance radio production and his work has been featured on Chicago Public Radio’s local news program Eight Forty-Eight. He has also worked as a marketing assistant at WBGO in Newark, NJ, where he helped to grow audience through placing advertisements, managing the station social media, improving the website, building email campaigns and doing in person promotion at jazz events throughout New York and New Jersey. Matthew has won several awards for radio production including a Gold and Silver from the Kansas City Press Club in 2017. You can find Matthew bicycling around the city and the globe.
Cody Newill was born and raised in Independence, Missouri, and attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Cody won a Regional Edward R. Murrow award for his work curating kcur.org in 2017. But if you ask him, his true accomplishments lie in Twitter memes and using the term "Devil's lettuce" in a story.
Ron Jones returned to KCUR in September, 2013 as Director of Community Engagement. He leads a team that will focus on the arts, entrepreneurship, neighborhoods and community diversity. Its goal is to coordinate community conversations about important issues on-air, online and in person.