Shoe Leather Beats BlackBerries

Yepsen, David
March 2004
Nieman Reports;Spring2004, Vol. 58 Issue 1, p14
This article offers insights on the style of political journalism in the U.S. When Theodore H. White wrote his book, The Making of the President 1960, he helped invent a new style of political journalism. His style of reporting made for fascinating insightful reading. However, it becomes too much of a good thing in the Iowa caucus campaigns. One reporter hanging around a candidate and a campaign can provide useful reading at the end of the campaign. In 2004, 124,331 Iowa Democrats trekked to 1,991 precinct caucuses to pass judgment on their party's presidential candidates. This verdict was covered by about 1,200 media people. The proliferation of media attention, while welcomed by Iowa's hospitality industry, has changed the nature of presidential politics in these early caucuses. What were once small meetings of party activists held in living rooms have shifted into large gatherings that candidates work hard to pack with their supporters. During the 2004 political campaign, nearly every political journalist wrote about the explosion of Internet-based politics. It turns out that Iowa's caucus-goers had moved beyond anger at U.S. President George W. Bush over the war in Iraq.


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