As RNC kicks off, journalists debate ‘optics’ and coverage

Let’s talk conventions. To save time, here’s a Storify that strongly implies the only RNC coverage fans of meta-journalism need is Patrick Gavin’s Twitter account.

Convention coverage debated

About 15,000 journalists are credentialed to cover this week’s Republican National Convention. Jeff Jarvis, David Carr & Howard Fineman questioned the purpose of such a deployment, while Politico’s Patrick Gavin entertained with convention coverage rules.

Storified by Julie Moos · Mon, Aug 27 2012 06:46:21

Tampa prepares for 15,000 journalists covering the RNC | Poynter.While local broadcasters in Tampa Bay prepare to cover the Republican National Convention next week, the area is preparing for the 15-16,…
Reporters: Why are you in Tampa? – BuzzMachineI challenge every journalist in Tampa for the Republican convention – every one of the 15-16,000 of you – to answer this: * Why are you t…
Tampa Bay Times writer Michael Kruse answered Jarvis’ question:
Inside the Big Tent it’s about meeting expectations – Tampa Bay TimesInside the Big Tent on Sunday, the theme was expectations – for the media’s performance, for individual accountability, for the political…
The convention will be good for Poynter’s newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times, reports AdAge:
Tampa Bay Times Capitalizes on Republican Convention | Media – Advertising AgeThe Tampa Bay Times has a clock on its homepage counting down the minutes to the start of the Republican Convention. Mitt Romney may have…
Howie Kurtz discussed the staged convention with guests on “Reliable Sources”:
Choreography vs. journalismcnn
Tampa Bay Times media writer Eric Deggans takes you behind the scenes at the taping of “Reliable Sources”:
Visiting CNN and other media at the RNC: Frenzy of calm before the craziness of Isaac | TV shows, TV news, media issues: The Feed | Tampa Bay TimesBest TV shows, worst TV shows, media issues and debates … it’s all here at the Feed, a blog on TV, media and modern life by St. Petersb…
In a column, Kurtz asks, “When the storm story fades, will the public share our fixation with convention-al politics?”
Daily Download | Tackling Tampa: The Media Elite DescendsThe first person I saw at the Washington airport was David Brooks. The plane to Tampa was packed with media elite types, from David Grego…
David Carr had his own take on convention coverage:
Political Conventions Can Learn From Reality ShowsTV Boss: "The cast is uninspired, the plots are unbearably boring and if I see one more man-on-the-street interview with someone covered …
Howard Fineman agrees with Jarvis and Carr:
.@howardfineman crushes it: conventions r absurd:"I know an overburdened, archaic, doomed institution when I see one." http://huff.to/QmpK6RJon Ward
And now some coverage tips from Politico’s Patrick Gavin:
Convention coverage rule #2848: Always, always tweet who is on your plane. Really good stuff.Patrick W. Gavin
Delta Media flight to Tampa w/ Matt Lauer, Geraldo, Peter King, and Ari Fleischer, and @mikiebarb.Michael Calderone
Convention Coverage Rule #5773: First person to TwitPic front page of local paper wins … somethingPatrick W. Gavin
Tampa Bay Times & POLITICO http://instagr.am/p/OzfWyJPpML/ #CaptureRNCDylan Byers
Convention Coverage Rule #1842: The thickness of your convention press pass collection *is* an aphrodisiac. Promise.Patrick W. Gavin
Badges galore for @earlystartcnn producer @tvnewsmelissa – we are live now in Tampa & all this week for #rnc coverageCNN Early Start
Convention Coverage Rule #8391: Declare a local diner a "best-kept secret" (doesn’t have to be true). ID a bartender as a "straight shooter"Patrick W. Gavin
Trying the burger at El Cap in St. Pete. #boringtweetsdaveweigel
Convention Coverage Rule #4829: Locals are "folks," reporters "fellas," Delegates "party faithful"Patrick W. Gavin
Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain fire up tea party faithful ahead of RNC – Tampa Bay TimesTAMPA – After tea partiers packed an east Hillsborough megachurch to standing room only Sunday night, after they were told jeering, heckl…
Convention Coverage Rule #9182: All stories going forward must include the phrase "…as the race enters the final stretch…"Patrick W. Gavin
Romney adopts a harsher message for the final stretch : Rutland Herald OnlineRutland Herald Online – Vermont election news, news coverage, local news, state government, sports, classifieds
Convention Coverage Rule #4910: Constantly remind young journalists that "this is nothing compared to ’68."Patrick W. Gavin
Joan Didion … TKS. “@mlcalderone: Classic RT @michaelscherer Unmatched convention coverage circa 1988 http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1988/oct/27/insider-baseball/?pagination=false …”Jim Roberts
Convention Coverage Rule #2772: Stroll thru media center looking for your work station when, really, you just want someone to recognize youPatrick W. Gavin
At the #CNNGrill #tampabay #isaac #rnc2012 #rncgram #gop2012 #gop #forum @dschumansays @davidnurnbergjco1280
Convention Coverage Rule #7815: Even though you broadcast in HD, always tweet cell phone shots of your broadcast studio.Patrick W. Gavin
See if you can identify all the different network live morning shows on floor of the #GOP2012 convo. http://yfrog.com/ocajfnpjChuck Todd
Convention Coverage Rule #3219: Find something that illustrates "why conventions matter." Also: Prep a "why conventions don’t matter" piece.Patrick W. Gavin
Conventions still matter, but do we really need four days? http://soc.li/oUCc6VX #RNC2012 #GOP2012 via @PoliticsTBTimesAdam Smith
One last convention coverage/tweeting tip:
Guys, if you are in Tampa covering the Republican convention, we don’t need to know how wet you get in the rain. OK?Emma Gilbey Keller

If that’s not enough for you, consider this:

Campaigns’ tight grip on access means political journalists have been forced to become Monday morning strategists, argues Anand Giridharadas, in a New York Times piece about the tragedy of “optics” that has such strong outsider bona fides it defines “G.O.P.” as “a nickname for the Republican Party.”

On cue, here’s a New York Times article about optics:

Republicans were wary of the optics of television coverage split between the revelry and partisanship surrounding Mr. Romney’s nomination and the threat of the storm making landfall in Louisiana or Mississippi seven years to the week after Hurricane Katrina left an American city in ruins.

Also:

• Hugh Hewitt says it’s “shameful” that networks, especially PBS, don’t show wall-to-wall convention coverage: They “blow it off for reruns,” he says. Howard Kurtz picks up the ball, asking whether it’s a “dereliction of duty.”

• David Zurawik reminds people that they can see all the convention they want on C-SPAN, whose co-CEO Susan Swain describes the conventions as “our Olympics.” Warning: C-SPAN’s coverage “bores some people to death,” Zurawik writes. Bad optics for C-SPAN in that sentence.

• Here’s a photo of Eric Deggans with Wolf Blitzer. The convention provided the Tampa Bay Times media critic the opportunity to meet in person people he’d “often sparred with by satellite TV.” Also: Spar with media outlets at these locations. Here’s more on Tampa Bay Times’ plans.

• For anyone more concerned with “narratives” than “optics,” here’s a collection of warnings from history.

Clinton was on the winning side of another convention duel four years later. His opponent, Republican Sen. Bob Dole, told his convention that he was born in 1923 and urged them to “let me be the bridge” to time of American “tranquility, faith and confidence in action.” He gave Clinton the perfect opening. The president responded that he wanted to build a “bridge to the future.”

• Finally, enjoy the actual meaning of the word “optics” with this feed of Instagram pix from the RNC.

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