Iowa campaign coverage brings journalists to same places again and again

The New York Times | The Washington Post
Times photojournalist Josh Haner, who’s covering his first presidential campaign, was at a restaurant for a Mitt Romney campaign event 10 days after he was there for a Michele Bachmann event. “It’s funny to walk into a place where you’ve been with one of the other candidates. You know where the back doors are and you even know the owner, so he’ll walk you through the kitchen,” Haner tells the Times’ James Estrin. One difference between the two events: The restaurant used the room where Bachmann’s event was held to store chairs and the salad bar to make room for Romney’s crowd. In the Times’ Lens blog post, Haner describes how he decides to cover each event and notes that the Romney campaign has photographer-friendly flood lights.

The Post’s Ned Martel profiles a couple who compete against each other as political reporters for the CBS (Emily Price) and NBC affiliate (Dave Price). They keep their scoops and analysis from each other, but they can’t always keep their family life out of their reporting:

Naturally, the candidates have focused on [their son] Hayden, too. Dave forgot to turn off his phone when Anita Perry came to the station for an interview, and she saw the boy’s face on the screensaver. She asked about him, and the reporter conceded that he was worried about the boy hitting a lot — right in the face. Especially Emily’s face. It was troubling to the first-time dad.

A few days later, he found a message from the first lady of Texas in his voice mail. “She said, ‘Hey, I’m not trying to get in your personal business, but after I was talking to you, I was thinking about what we had said.’ ” She said she had shared Hayden’s hitting problem with a speech therapist, who explained it as a phase related to the boy’s frustration in communicating.

Related: The Polk County Convention Complex in Des Moines expects about 1,500 journalists this year, down from 2,500 four years ago, which seems low until you consider that there’s just one competitive caucus this year. | Google will have heat maps showing caucus participation around the state, according to Politico’s Mike Allen. || Earlier: Des Moines Marriott a ‘Star Wars’ bar scene for journalists covering Iowa Caucus (Poynter.org)

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