As a top-notch reporter, Novak developed and cultivated numerous sources in key states. As Blackwell noted,
Bob was a good source for Ohio history. From really Eisenhower forward, he had great lines of communication with the political players of Ohio -- and he knew Ohio was crucial for any Republican success -- so he studied Ohio.
We would talk on the phone, and I was like any number of his sources. He would just call and it was off-the-record or on background, and he would ask probing questions. He knew the numbers, but he would also try to understand the human dimension associated with intrastate politics in Ohio.
Regarding Novak's famous conversion to Catholicism, Blackwell said that, prior to converting, as a skeptical reporter by nature, Novak fully researched the faith. And because Blackwell was then a vice president and member of the faculty at Xavier University -- a prominent Jesuit, Catholic University in Cincinnati -- Novak would sometimes ask him about Catholic history.
Prior to converting, "He kicked the tires, so to speak," said Blackwell.