Defending the Conventions

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 28 2012 12:26 PM

Defending the Conventions

Jack Shafer makes his best attempt at it. This is the part that rings out to me.

A notebook filled with quotations from Governor Chris Christie or Governor Andrew Cuomo might not be newsworthy now, but the reportorial investment in two political comers will likely pay future dividends. Political reporters benefit from meeting campaign operatives and state and county political chairmen in the flesh and snatching up their business cards and Twitter handles, and this is the place to collect the complete set. Convention veteran Walter Shapiro argues this point adamantly today in CJR, maintaining that "there is no place better than a convention to begin to forge these bonds of mutual trust."
Advertisement

No matter how many reporters are credentialed for the convention, this never stops being true. That "15,000 media" number you hear includes a bunch of cameramen (who the print reporters aren't competing with), a bunch of talking heads for cable news (who aren't competing for anything bigger than a waiter's attention at the CNN Grill), and foreign press that can file some "ha, ha, wacky Americans and their hats!" stories and call it a week. There's definitely a familiar, Povlanian phenomenon on display in which a celebrity (Jon Voight, just now) apppears in a room, some guy with a flipcam runs up to interview him, and other people with flipcams run up to interview him, and then people with real cameras interview him. The journalism produced by these gatherings are basically crap. But nobody's forcing anybody to join them!

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

The Ludicrous Claims Women Are Pitched at “Egg Freezing Parties”

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Behold
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 1:11 PM This Company Wants to Fight World Hunger With Flies 
  Life
The Eye
Oct. 1 2014 1:04 PM An Architectural Crusade Against the Tyranny of Straight Lines
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 1:01 PM Can Activists Save Reyhaneh Jabbari?  
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 10:54 AM “I Need a Pair of Pants That Won’t Bore Me to Death” Troy Patterson talks about looking sharp, flat-top fades, and being Slate’s Gentleman Scholar.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 1:13 PM The Essence of Gender Roles in Action Movies, in One Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 1:25 PM Japanese Cheerleader Robots Balance and Roll Around on Balls
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 1 2014 12:01 PM Rocky Snow
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.