Campaigning Journalism…How?

(in reply to Jay Rosen’s “Journalists have to decide what to do about candidates who are climate change denialists“)

It’s sad to see an experienced journalist and several pathetic commenters completely naive on the fact that taking sides isn’t the only or the best option for a reporter to inform the readers.

Candidates subject to Rosen’s Persistence or Confrontation will clam up, for example, and the public will know less about them than they should.

In practice the best way to handle any situation is by treating it as unique and devising the strategy that will bring about the best journalism on the there and then. Ideology and prejudice won’t ever work in that respect.

In fact, each of Rosen’s four ways assumes that the journalist goes out there with some Truth in his/her mind and has to protect the public from exposure to some particular Untruth.

What I’m saying is that this is not an approach that will elicit great pages of campaign journalism, especially as it automatically and prejudicially isolates the politician from the journalist.

What if anything genuine will those politicians do and say when this Truth Holder of a journalist is around, I cannot fathom. At best, he or she will be considered by the candidate and the entourage as an eco zealot buffoon, somebody who should be fed made-up morsels of non-news.

The only way for a campaign journalist has to be to find the best way to extract news from candidate and campaign, considering the uniqueness of each situation. To go around with pen, paper, microphone and a lot of self-important grandstanding, isn’t good journalism.