Nieman Reports

Summer 2000

Election 2000: Politicians and the Press

Cover for Summer 2000

It’s the tendency to focus on the celebrity, the character, not serious character but personality traits of political figures that trivializes the political process. So the focus of this discussion will be on issues which might be overlooked or underreported in the 2000 campaigns. Issues like those that David Broder spoke of last May when he wrote in his column that it’s quite a trick for something to grow larger and at the same time become more invisible. Broder was talking about the health care issue then, but he might just as well have been talking about any one of a number of issues that loom ill-defined in the background of the campaign rhetoric that focuses on youthful indiscretions or political money.
– Nieman Curator Bill Kovach opening the political Watchdog Journalism conference

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Watchdog Conference

Summer 2000: Watchdog Conference Introduction

By Watchdog Conference June 15, 2000

It’s the tendency to focus on the celebrity, the character, not serious character but personality traits of political figures that trivializes the political process. So the focus of this discussion will be on issues which might be overlooked or underreported in the 2000 campaigns. Issues like those that David Broder spoke of last May when he wrote in his column that it’s quite a trick for something to grow larger and at the same time become more invisible. Broder was talking about the health care issue then, but he might just as well have been talking about any one of a number of issues that loom ill-defined in the background of the campaign rhetoric that focuses on youthful indiscretions or political money. – Nieman Curator Bill Kovach opening the political Watchdog Journalism conference Read more

Are We Asking the Right Questions?

Watchdog Conference June 15, 2000

Are members of the press asking candidates the right questions? What should those questions be? A number of panelists, including journalists and politicians, had some ideas about specific topics that should be addressed and ways for reporters to do so. Excerpts from these discussions follow. Read more

What Would the People Ask?

Watchdog Conference June 15, 2000

Andrew Kohut, Director of The Pew Research Center for The People & The Press, addressed the question of ‘What would the people ask?’ by sharing results of a September 1999 survey. In that survey a sample group of Americans was asked to describe what they would like to know—and what they don’t want to know— about the candidates running for President. Their answers are instructive as reporters consider coverage of the campaign. Read more

Are Members of the Press Bored By Issues?

Watchdog Conference June 15, 2000

Ron Faucheux, Editor in Chief, Campaigns & Elections: “[Politicians] are not really complaining about the questions the press is asking. What they’re complaining about is that nobody’s covering their answers. And candidates who try to talk about relevant, connected issues … Read more

Journalist's Trade

Money and Politics on the Web

Journalist’s Trade June 15, 2000

RELATED ARTICLE“Keeping a Reporter’s Eye on the Contributions”– Peter OverbyThe information revolution has brought an array of Web sites that collect, combine and otherwise buff up the campaign finance reports filed … Read more

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