Is McCain Working the Traveling Press Better than Obama?

Last Updated Oct 8, 2008 11:27 PM EDT

Interesting post by CBS's Dean Reynolds comparing his experiences serving in Barack Obama's traveling press corps and then recently switching to John McCain's. It gives you a little insight into how at least one journalist views the the treatment the press corps has received from the two camps, and serves as a little insight into media relations from the journalist's perspective.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that a campaign that does a good job taking care of the press is going to see a marginal improvement in their coverage compared to not doing anything, though I'm not sure that a campaign that doesn't take care of the press is going to see an incremental decline in their coverage. It's a lot easier to return a favor by giving someone the benefit of the doubt than it is to intentionally retailiate for perceived slights.

Reynolds describes Obama's media relations as chaotic and his PR people often out of touch, while describing the McCain camp as friendly and organized.

About Obama's PR effort:

The Obama aides who deal with the national reporters on the campaign plane are often overwhelmed, overworked and un-informed about where, when, why or how the candidate is moving about....The national headquarters in Chicago airily dismisses complaints from journalists wondering why a schedule cannot be printed up or at least e-mailed in time to make coverage plans.
About McCain's PR effort:
The McCain folks are more helpful and generally friendly. The schedules are printed on actual books you can hold in your hand, read, and then plan accordingly. The press aides are more knowledgeable and useful to us in the news media. The events are designed with a better eye, and for the simple needs of the press corps.
About being cognizant of the press' needs:
The other day in Albuquerque, N.M., the reporters were given almost no time to file their reports after McCain spoke. It was an important, aggressive speech, lambasting Obama's past associations. When we asked for more time to write up his remarks and prepare our reports, the campaign readily agreed to it. They understood.

Similar requests are often denied or ignored by the Obama campaign aides, apparently terrified that the candidate may have to wait 20 minutes to allow reporters to chronicle what he's just said.

  • Jon Greer

    Jon Greer has been analyzing media and PR for more than 25 years. He's been a journalist and a PR executive, and has been a featured speaker for many years at the Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit, and served as Bulldog's Editorial Director for their PR University series of weekly how-to audio conferences.

    Jon provides PR services including media relations and freelance writing to clients including start-ups, law firms, corporations, investment banks and venture capital firms. In addition, Jon provides spokesperson training. Learn more about Jon's training programs at The Media Bridge.