Blackberry Or Black Pen, Has Political Coverage Really Changed That Much?

(CBS/iStockphoto)
Over at Editor & Publisher, Andrew Nusca has an interesting piece up looking at how technology has changed political reporting. It's worth a full read as a reminder of just how far we've come in such a short span of time:

In just three decades, the emergence of computers, mobile phones, the 24-hour news cycle and the Internet have radically altered the way political reporters do their jobs. Generation after generation of journalist continues to grapple with the evolution of technology, a seemingly Darwinian plot that weeds out those reporters who resist change. Longtime users of the typewriter, scissors and glue, today's senior political reporters are more likely to be found with a Blackberry handheld device than a black pen.
The story quotes veteran political reporters, some of whom are concerned about the premium of speed over substance. Tom Edsall, a former Washington Post reporter, is quoted saying, "technology has increased the 'value' of campaign staffers who can respond to and initiate story lines very quickly … but it has also diminished the importance of thoughtful, considered presentations by campaigns in the heat of battle."

Perhaps Edsall has a point but I would ask just how many of those "thoughtful, considered presentations" were there before cell phones arrived on the campaign trail. The daily horse race coverage of campaign drove coverage before blogs happened along, technology has simply served to speed up the process. Just because the tools used by reporters have evolved doesn't necessarily mean that the product is all that different does it?

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