Forbes.com reports that the number of journalists covering the conventions this fall will remain at the same level as 2004 and 2000: 15,000 of them. What a waste. The outcome of the conventions is known. There will be no news. Why are these news organizations sending so many staffers there?
That’s it, pure ad simple: Our man in Denver. Instead of your woman. It’s for bylines, bylines the public couldn’t care less about. The coverage will be no different outlet to outlet. We can watch it all ourselves on C-SPAN.
The conventions aren’t news. Anymore they are only staged events to get media coverage. And it works. But it’s not for the public good that they’re covered.
Don’t try to feed me that line about how they’ll be covering their local delegations. Their local delegations never make news — not since 1968 anyway — and their actions couldn’t be more predictable, less newsworthy. If you want to cover the locals, cover them at home — before the event. But you still won’t get any news from them.
As news organizations dwindle, this is an irresponsible use of resources and it only shows how the industry’s leaders are tied to doing things the way they always did them. That’s what will be the death of journalism.
Those reporters would be far better used in their local markets doing real reporting there. Don’t go to the convention and ask the same old question and get the same old answer about health care; instead, go ask patients and doctors in your market what is happening. Don’t go getting locker room sound bites from local pols at the convention; spend the time at home to analyze their expense accounts and donor reports. You want to know what issues matter in November? Ask the voters in your backyard.
Should bloggers be going to the conventions? I’m not sure why. It was a big deal when they were given official status; we were all so proud. But I think we just became another cog in the media machine. I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember reading much of moment in the convention blogs four years ago. That’s because nothing happened.
If I were a newspaper editor, I would proudly make the point that I’m not sending anyone to the conventions. I’ll use the power of the internet to find and summarize the best coverage there is. I’ll do what I do best and just link to the rest.
Sendign 15,000 journalists to the conventions remains a shameful waste.