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What You Should Know About Presidential Primary Coverage

It's not about journalism!
What You Should Know About Presidential Primary Coverage
Image from: Hillary Clinton

Here's the first thing you need to know about the journalists covering the presidential primaries: They're young, and they're ambitious. This is their big shot. Because if their candidate wins, they will now be considered an "expert" and will get assigned to the White House. (Not to mention, possibly nailing down some lucrative cable news gig on the side -- or even a book deal.)

The other thing is, covering a presidential primary is a grind. Long, long days, crappy food when you get it, listening to the same speech many times a day (political reporters get to the point where they can recite it in their sleep) and lots of pressure from your news organization. You know those silly stories, those trumped-up scandals? It's what you get when you're told you have to file four or five stories a day. (Because if you don't file those stories, your news organization will find it hard to rationalize the expense of keeping you on the road.)

If the campaign is well-run and tightly disciplined, all you're going to get are non-stories like the one about Hillary not tipping in Chipotle. It's not about the future of the nation or even the candidates anymore -- it's about budget items, and clicks. Not news -- widgets.

So if campaign news gets to you, remember: It is to news what McDonald's is to fine dining.


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