How Twitter has Changed Campaign Coverage

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

More and more people are getting their news, including political news, from social media. This offers a quicker and more up to date way to see the latest news about political candidates. But does quicker mean better? Or are reporters these days just worried about the quantity and speed of their reports, and not the quality?

Jodi Edna said in his report, Campaign Coverage in the Time of Twitter, from the American Journalism Review."No longer do reporters slog elbow to elbow with presidential contenders vying for votes in Iowa and New Hampshire. No longer do they get to know the candidates in a way that voters do not – up close and personal, with their feet up, their guard down and, perhaps, a drink at the ready. No longer do they have the luxury of weeks or days or even hours to gather string and dig deep and analyze before they write a story."

Edna continues on say that many reporters today don't have enough time to write what reporters 10 years ago would consider a story since they are so busy with Twitter, blogging, or shooting a video clip.

Reporters these days are no longer following candidates around and getting to know them,"There are fewer people observing these candidates up close and more people writing about them from afar. There are a lot more people opining, blogging, tweeting, but not out there looking at candidates face to face," says Zeleny of the New York Times. Is this a good thing? Are we getting the best, most accurate stories from these reporters? Or is this just the fastest way to get out information?

The new way of reporting has both its positives and negatives. People are definitely getting their news faster and more often by using social media. Also they have the options of seeing pictures of the candidate, clicking on a link to view a video that the reporter shot with his/her phone, or hear an audio recording captured by the reporter. And nothing is better than hearing from the candidates themselves.

But the negatives are clear as well. Continuing in his report Edna says this referring to today's reporters, "Almost to a person, they bemoan the loss of time to engage in in-depth reporting, to go beyond the story of the day to unearth the insightful gems that really tell us something instructive, something fundamentally important, about the men and women who would be president." Reporters today are sacrificing their time to do deep research on candidates so that they can keep getting the latest, newer news.

Everyone is a potential journalist today. What is considered news today only remains news for a little while, until something new has to be blogged about. Is the new form of reporting on campaigns (little amounts of data but constantly updated) better for the voter than the old form of reporting, where we received in-depth stories about the candidate but not as often? Whatever way is better, campaigns are being covered more and more by people on sites like twitter, and less and less by reporters who do in-depth reporting.

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