Summer 2000

Election 2000: Politicians and the Press

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

Watchdog Conference
Introduction
By Bill Kovach
Are We Asking the Right Questions? (1 comment)
What Would the People Ask?
Are Members of the Press Bored By Issues?
Do Members of the Press Try to Set the Policy Agenda?
Is Getting Personal the Same as Probing Character?
How Does Television Affect the Coverage of Political Campaigns?
How Do Editors Decide What Political Stories to Cover?
What Are the New Challenges in the Wake of New Technologies?
Yes or No? Keeping a Candidate Scorecard
By Steven Brill
Journalist’s Trade
Introduction
By Melissa Ludtke, Editor
‘The Higher We Flew, the Less We Knew.’
A Century of Reporting on the Race for the White House
By Doris Kearns Goodwin
Getting to Know You
As many candidates retreat from the press, what we learn is what their strategists want us to know.
By Evan Thomas
Are Political Reporters a Vanishing Breed?
After 40 years on the beat, one journalist thinks they might be.
By Jack W. Germond
Political Journalism, the Way It Used to Be
Jack Germond remembers the different old days.
By Jack Nelson
Watching New Hampshire From Far Away
In California, not all was as it had appeared.
By Martin F. Nolan
Playing the Celebrity Game
Candidates transform themselves into entertainers.
Excerpts from Election Observers
Blame Abe Lincoln and Steve Forbes
But don’t expect journalists to give second tier candidates equal attention.
By Cragg Hines
‘How I Hate the Media.’
For Jesse Ventura, disdain for media attention is selective.
By Mike Mulcahy
Connecting Political Coverage to Readers’ Concerns
In local reporting, entertainment is a distant second to issues that touch people’s lives.
By Mike Riley
From the Political Biosphere Into Cyberspace
A Journalist’s Journey From Television to the Web
By Kathleen deLaski
Multimedia Coverage of the Interactive Kind
At OnPolitics, partnerships and public engagement change the way political news is delivered and digested.
By Mark Stencel
The Fun and Frenzy of Internet Political Coverage
At Salon.com, reporting is wrapped in attitude and the writing is edgier.
By Jake Tapper
Keeping a Reporter’s Eye on the Contributions
It’s easier to find the money, but does the public still want to know?
By Peter Overby
Money and Politics on the Web
Uncovering Private Interests in Public Places
Scrutiny of legislators should be part of the statehouse beat.
By Diane Renzulli
Words & Reflections
Introduction
By Melissa Ludtke, Editor
Where Are Muckraking Journalists Today?
An historian says the usual excuses for their absence aren’t valid.
By Jessica Dorman
Coverage of Media Mergers
Does it provide a window into the future of journalism?
By Norman Solomon
The Sound You Hear Is Silence
When the subject is corporate immorality, nary a judgmental word is heard.
By Morton Mintz
Designing and Distributing the Survey
News Stories about Corporate Crime and Misconduct
Against the Commercial Impulse (1 comment)
An author argues for journalism being a vital force in democracy.
By Jeffrey Scheuer
‘Journalism and Democracy Are Names for the Same Thing.’
A book raises journalists from their self-interested complacency.
By James W. Carey
Can the Press Win Back the Public’s Confidence?
A First Amendment lawyer argues it must.
By Lorie Hearn
‘Things Are Not OK.’
An author argues that journalism’s watchdogs are being silenced by greed.
By Jim Tharpe
Why Should the Public Trust Journalists?
A long-time journalist looks outside his practice for answers.
By Cara DeVito
Journalism and Citizenship
Should there be connections?
By Ellen Hume
Examining the United Nations’ Role in Settling Conflicts
Insider journalism leaves too many questions unasked and unanswered.
By Roy Gutman
Nieman Notes
Endnote
Excerpts from Bill Kovach’s Goldsmith Career Award Speech
International Journalism
Introduction
By Melissa Ludtke, Editor
A Serbian Journalist Answers Critics
Should independent media have agreed to government censorship during the war? ‘Yes,’ one editor says.
By Dragoljub Zarkovic
Does Journalism Matter?
After the war in Kosova, Albanian reporters reassess their work.
By Ardian Arifaj
The Troubles We’ve Seen
In Northern Ireland, the journalists search for explanations.
By Eddie Holt
Media Censorship During ‘the Troubles’
A leading Irish journalist ponders the consequences.
By Ed Moloney
500 Words Is Rarely Enough to Tell the Story
When one of them is Ireland
By Shawn Pogatchnik