The New York Times reports that a joint venture between National Journal and CBS News has recent college graduates out on the campaign trail providing coverage once done by seasoned news veterans:
For decades, campaign buses were populated by hotshots, some of whom covered politics for decades, from Walter Mears to David S. Broder to Jules Witcover. It was a glamorous club, captured and skewered in Timothy Crouse’s best-selling “The Boys on the Bus,” about the 1972 campaign.
Now, more and more, because of budget cutbacks, those once coveted jobs are being filled by brand new journalists at a fraction of the salary. It is not so glamorous anymore.
The worry among some is that in cut throat politics, campaigns may seize upon missteps and the potential naiveté of rookie reporters for political advantage.
In the hands of a political partisan looking to discredit a news organization, these slip-ups can become powerful and fatal ammunition. “Everything you say can and will be used against you,” said Ron Fournier, the editor-in-chief of National Journal…
…Reporters have far more to worry about these days than missteps of their own making. A new generation of political activists like James O’Keefe, the conservative sabotage artist behind the hidden recordings that helped ignite outrage against Planned Parenthood, Acorn and National Public Radio, are setting traps with the goal of discrediting the media.
Over at Salon, Alex Pareene believes this new batch of reporters will do just fine, suggesting that the bar for political reporting just isn’t that high:
Some people will probably get outraged at this debasing of the noble profession of political reporting, but I can’t imagine that these “kids” could possibly be any more banal than the superstars who file a dozen identical stories from the same Iowa prayer breakfast or whatever.
And for those just getting into the game, ABC’s Jack Tapper offers 13 pieces of advice.
Number one among them: Young reporters gearing up for campaign coverage, I have two words: neck pillow.