Political and campaign reporting


How to cover the ’16 campaign: follow the money, but few are, says one reporter

(Image via Deposit Photo)

(Image via Deposit Photo)

Shane Goldmacher, the senior political correspondent for National Journal, has a “totally selfish reason” for covering campaign finance that has little to do with high-minded notions of holding people to account.

No, it’s got a lot more to do with this: the distinct lack of competition from other journalists, he told a boot camp for presidential campaign journalists last week.


Isn’t this a seemingly golden age of political reporting, at least quantitatively, with high-traffic political sites like Politico and tons of cable TV and internet coverage? Even C-SPAN no longer has a de facto monopoly on bread-and-butter, off-the-beaten-track events.

And aren’t giant salaries being paid to solid specialists like Mark Halperin and John Heilemann of Bloomberg News? And the ambitious folks at CBS News and CNN, among others, are ramping up and offering 24/7 news content on multiple vehicles. Read more

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Politico, AJC launch redesigns

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Politico, AJC launch redesigns

    Politico's new presentation aims to give readers a "cleaner, more organized design that seeks to crowd out some of the noise of our information overload moment," Editor Susan Glasser writes in a welcome note. (Politico) | "Today is the formal beginning of the biggest transformation of [Politico] in eight years," CEO Jim Vandehei writes in a memo to staffers. The publication's visual retooling echoes expansion plans "into Europe and other states," but VandeHei says "Washington will always be the central nervous system of [Politico]." | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also has a new design, a "bold new look" that will spread to other Cox Media Group free newspaper sites, CMG says in a release.

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Congressional candidate blocks reporters on Twitter

Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio has blocked on Twitter several journalists who cover him. KPBS reporter Claire Trageser told Poynter she noticed she had been blocked on Friday, which was a couple days before she reported that a second campaign staffer had accused DeMaio of sexual harassment.

If you block someone on Twitter, they can’t follow you, among other indignities.

Joshua Emerson Smith, a reporter for San Diego CityBeat, said on Twitter he’d been blocked, too, after Trageser tweeted a photo showing she’d been blocked.

CityBeat Editor David Rolland told Poynter DeMaio “blocked my entire staff” on Friday. His own account got briefly suspended by Twitter that same day: “I suspect that the DeMaio camp reported me as spam,” he wrote in an email, adding that he thought it was possible whoever blocked him reported him unintentionally at the same time. Read more

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Publishers resurface evergreen content; Thailand’s the place to be for drone journalism

Here’s our roundup of the top digital and social media stories you should know about (and from Andrew Beaujon, 10 media stories to start your day):

— New York magazine is posting old content to its Facebook page, and Business Insider is doing so on its homepage, according to Digiday’s Ricardo Bilton. How timestamp-transparent should publishers be when resurfacing evergreen stories?

— Drone journalism won’t take off in South Africa or the U.S. anytime soon, according to Sydney Pead at PBS MediaShift. But in Thailand, “it’s considered a hobby” — and easier than playing Playstation 3 you can get some nice places to stay.For more info please visit : http://yourkohsamuivillas.com/.

— A new Twitter bot called @congressedits tracks Wikipedia edits from computers on Capitol Hill. Read more

Vice President Joe Biden gestures  as he speaks about reducing domestic violence, Wednesday, March 13, 2013, at the Montgomery County Executive Office Building in Rockville, Md. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

A year ago, Joe Biden’s staff deleted my pictures

The weirdest part was when Fox News’ Bret Baier mentioned my name. From his March 14, 2013, broadcast:

“A student reporter who was forced by Vice President Biden’s staff to delete pictures he took at a Biden appearance has received an apology. University of Maryland student journalist Jeremy Barr was covering a domestic violence event attended by Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Senator Ben Cardin.”

Vice President Biden speaks in Rockville, Md., on March 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

One year ago, I was a graduate student at the University of Maryland’s journalism school. As part of the program’s capstone, I worked four days a week as a politics reporter for the school’s Capital News Service. I primarily covered the state’s congressional delegation, but I also reported on national politics as related to the Free State. Read more

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Joe McGinniss, scourge of politicos and chronicler of crime, dies at 71

Associated Press | Los Angeles Times 

Stories about author-journalist Joe McGinniss are re-emerging in the wake of news that he died Monday in a Worcester, Mass., hospital from complications of prostate cancer.

He once moved next door to Sarah Palin to gather material for his unauthorized biography about her, according to the Associated Press. The subject of his best-selling book, “Fatal Vision,” sued him, claiming McGinniss tricked him into believing the convicted murderer was innocent. McGinniss’ publisher settled out of court for $325,000.

Associated Press reported:

The tall, talkative McGinniss had early dreams of becoming a sports reporter and wrote books about soccer, horse racing and travel. But he was best known for two works that became touchstones in their respective genres — campaign books (”The Selling of the President”) and true crime (”Fatal Vision”).

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China Citizens Movement Trial

Covering China: for foreign and domestic press, self-censorship’s the threat

A plainclothes policeman, center, tries to block a foreign journalist filming while police detain the supporters of Xu Zhiyong near the No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court in Beijing Wednesday. Xu, a legal scholar and founder of the New Citizens movement, is on trial facing a charge organzing a crowd to disrupt public order. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

It’s not easy being a journalist in China these days.

Chinese reporters are facing new government restrictions, including forced training in Marxism and a new written “ideology” exam. Some, pushing the investigative envelope, have been detained, demoted and fired. Bloggers have been arrested under a new law that forbids rumor-mongering.

Meanwhile, foreign journalists have had visa renewals held up by the government, with the threat of expulsion. The standoff grew so contentious that Vice President Joe Biden had to make a personal appeal to China’s president before last-minute visas were issued earlier this month. Read more

As a New Jersey state trooper stands at attention nearby, Gov. Chris Christie delivers his State of the State address Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, at the Statehouse in Trenton, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Blindsided: How Christie used passive verbs to turn himself into a victim

My brother frequently drives from New Jersey to New York across the George Washington Bridge to visit our 94-year-old mom. Her name is Shirley Clark, and she likes Chris Christie. She prefers her politicians to be straight talkers. She would agree with George Orwell that the best political rhetoric is “demotic,” a fancy word for the “voice of the people.”

If I could bring Orwell back from his early grave, I would have loved to have sat next to him during the New Jersey governor’s press conference apologizing for dirty political tricks, or at his subsequent State of the State of New Jersey speech. Based on what Orwell wrote in “Politics and the English Language,” I think he would have given the governor a mixed grade. Read more

obama & pete souza

PoynterVision: White House photo practices break promise of open government

Kenny Irby, senior faculty at Poynter, advises the public to critically analyze photos from the White House Press Office, particularly as it routinely denies photojournalists access to the president.

Founder of Poynter’s photojournalism program, Irby says he doesn’t believe the Obama administration is living up to its promise of “open government.”

Irby argues White House chief photographer Pete Souza‘s role is more that of a “propagandist” than a photojournalist since his job is to make the president “look good, make the president look presidential.”

In the past week, several news organizations, including the McClatchy newspapers, USA Today and the AP have said they will not use handout photos originating from the White House Press Office, except in rare circumstances.

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The performance of HealthCare.gov isn't what will count in the end, says Politico's Joanne Kenen. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

Health care coverage is more than numbers

We’ve heard a lot about the HealthCare.gov website and its performance metrics recently.

But the Affordable Care Act metric that really matters isn’t error rates or response time. It’s enrollment.

Furthermore, what matters isn’t just how many people enroll – although that’s part of it. It’s also who enrolls – in particular, their age and health status. A mix that includes younger and healthier people is needed for a viable insurance risk pool. And whether that mix has been achieved may not be clear until later in the six-month open-enrollment season. Read more

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