Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Nevada Newspapers Beefing Up Coverage for Suddenly Hot Caucus Vote

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Nevada Newspapers Beefing Up Coverage for Suddenly Hot Caucus Vote

Article excerpt

Four years ago, the Nevada caucuses carried almost no weight and received barely any media attention, even among local newspapers, because of their later date.

But this year, having been moved up to third place after the Iowa and New Hampshire contests, which did little to proclaim a front-runner in either party, Nevada editors are beefing up coverage and devoting more resources than for any previous caucus season.

"It is far and away the most important one, the rest were forgettable," Thomas Mitchell, editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and a 20-year veteran of the paper, said of the Jan. 19 event. "It doesn't strike me as having been significant for us at all in the past."

Beryl Love, editor of the Reno Gazette-Journal, agreed. "It sets up who is going to move out ahead," he said of the caucuses' impact on the top candidates.

The caucuses have become such a hot news story that the Las Vegas Sun chose this week to unveil its new Web site redesign, launched on Thursday, and the Review-Journal is considering a rare primary season endorsement.

"We generally do not endorse in the primary, but we have not ruled it out," said Mitchell, who sits on the paper's editorial board. "It would be unusual and we are just kind of looking at it. We might change our minds if we get a couple more [candidates] in here to persuade us."

Mitchell said the paper's editorial board has already interviewed Mitt Romney, Bill Richardson(now out of the race) and Duncan Hunter, with a request out for Barack Obama.

The increased attention on Nevada follows the Iowa caucuses, in which Obama won the Democratic race and Mike Huckabee took the Republican contest. But after two other contenders, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican John McCain, won the New Hampshire primaries on Tuesday, the race became even less clear.

Enter Nevada, which chose last year to move up its caucuses to January after holding them almost a month later in 2004. …

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