Friday, November 30, 2007

Chasing Access

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 416

Today's Washington Post carries an interesting article on the trials and tribulations of reporters trying to penetrate the de-facto bubble of candidates' unbelievably demanding schedules and actually speak with those whom they seek to cover. The article focused on Hillary Clinton in particular, but noted the same issue, if to a lesser degree, also arises with Obama and Edwards.

I've been running around Iowa tailing candidates since January of this year, and know from experience that it has never been an easy matter to get face time with a candidate as a blogger, so the fact that the main stream media encounters the same problem doesn't surprise me. The plain fact is that candidates are on a mission to get their message out every single day, and, if the campaign doesn't see a way to make use of the access you're requesting to help them get their message of the moment out to voters, then they don't have time for you. This is sometimes especially true if you're [only] a local blogger.

Fortunately, as [only] a local blogger, I also have the luxury of setting that role aside at will, and showing up at candidate events as someone far more important: an actual voter. In this regard, I almost always have better luck in getting face time with the candidates. So I can attest to the fact that when campaigns push aside requests for access from the media so their candidate can spend time talking with voters, that is, while undeniably convenient for the campaigns, nonetheless very often true.

Granted, I often run right home and blog about what the candidates and I talk about on those occasions. I'm sure that some members of the mainstream media would call 'foul' on that, but there's no point in being a blogger - or a voter, for that matter - if it's the same as being reporter.

In an ideal world, everyone would be spoiled to the same extent that voters (and sometimes, even bloggers) in Iowa and New Hampshire are when it comes to up close and personal interaction with people who want to be our next president. And, setting Iowa voter smugness aside for a moment, I truly wish that were so. But, as the Post's article dramatizes, this is far from an ideal world. So, to the mainstream media frustrated by the often large gap between what they want from the campaigns versus what the campaigns are willing to give, all I can say is: welcome to the club, guys; we've got jackets.

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