Kicked Off the Bus: Why Candidates are Leaving Newspapers Behind

 

The New York Times has an interesting piece on the lack of newspaper reporters consistently following the presidential candidates on the road, and where the day-to-day news is coming from now.

As most people have heard, newspapers have been taking financial hits in the last few years, with concerns over readership in the era of the Internet. And following candidates on their chartered jets is not a cheap affair–at around $2,000 to fly with Obama on his plane for the day, the costs are just too much for penny pinching papers. Even major publications such as USA Today, The Houston Chronicle, and The Boston Globe have stayed away for the most part, changing the amount of news that readers get from the first-hand perspective.

“We’d all like to be able to be out there,” said Lee Horwich, a senior editor at USA Today. “Given the reality of the costs and various priorities, not just political priorities but across the rest of the newspaper, it just isn’t realistic for us.”

Where the newspapers leave off, bloggers fill in the gaps. More and more bloggers have followed the campaign from their own homes, taking what they gather from sources, adding personal perspectives, and allowing for conversation.

Said S. Robert Litcher, director of the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University:

“I’m not sure too much is lost,” Lichter said. “There used to be a self-defined cadre of campaign reporters. Now the news comes from everywhere — from bloggers, maybe some guy with a video camera. Anyone can generate news and everyone can generate news. What’s the advantage of being the 50th guy on the bus?”

The Huffington Post, a political and current affairs blog site even has a program called “Off the Bus,” which enlists regular citizens to conduct interviews and help write stories about politics in their area.

So how is this change in news sources affecting what we hear about the campaigns? Seems to me that citizens are receiving huge influxes of political information and interaction more than ever, despite–or perhaps because of–the shift from newspaper to online domination. What do you think?

The Buzz on the Bus: Pinched, Press Steps Off – [NY Times]

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