Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Pressing Issues: The 2008 Campaign: The 'Last Hurrah'?

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Pressing Issues: The 2008 Campaign: The 'Last Hurrah'?

Article excerpt

Exactly one year ago, E&P's Joe Strupp previewed press coverage of the upcoming 2008 race for the White House. The cover featured a Steve Brodner illustration that parodied the famous Chicago Tribune Truman/Dewey front page from 1948, showing Hillary Clinton flashing a banner headline that declared "PRINT Beats WEB." The kicker: Our inside spread showed a man -- who looked suspiciously like blogger Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post -- in the same pose hoisting a paper with the topper, "WEB Beats PRINT."

How did that work out? Well, for one thing, as Strupp relates elsewhere here (p. 6), Cillizza got so much attention that he has just been named the paper's first Web-only White House correspondent.

Our cover story in that December 2007 issue forecast that 2008 would be known as the "YouTube or Facebook Election" and also proved prescient in pointing out the need for newspapers to appoint full-time bloggers to cover the campaign; the instant impact of Web scoops; and the stupendous traffic gains derived from campaign news.

In the days immediately following the Obama triumph -- which was fueled by his team's wise, innovative, and massive use of the Web, e-mails, and social networking -- numerous analysts and press pundits weighed in on the media takeaway. Actually, it started before the polls even opened on Nov. 4, with an Adam Nagourney piece at the top of The New York Times' front page under the headline, "The '08 Campaign: A Sea Change for Politics as We Know It." Nagourney observed that the campaign had "rewritten the rules" on everything from raising money to how to reach voters and mount political attacks, "including many carried by blogs that did not exist four years ago."

Remember when blogs were commonly viewed as a silly, passing phenomenon? Now they make it as a key player in the second graf of the top New York Times story on Election Day 2008.

Alan D. Mutter, at his "Reflections of a Newsosaur" (, published a lengthy comment that may go slightly too far but is worth quoting at length. Mutter worked at the Chicago Sun-Times and San Francisco Chronicle before becoming a cable TV honcho, a Silicon Valley executive, and now an oft-quoted media and technology consultant. …

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