The Politico, the press and lipstick on a pig

Some new media topics that caught my eye during the Morning Coffee Grind:

• The decision by some American newspapers (including my former employer) to team up with The Politico for election coverage this fall is a prime example of the growing possibilities of convergence between print and online journalism. Here’s the sales pitch: The Politico will pay newspapers to run its content. And not the other way around.

Paul Gillin goes even further in declaring that specialty and niche coverage providers will continue to increase in value by mainstream news organizations. Perhaps the harder prospect for MSM outlets to adopt is letting their workaday reporters — and not just “star” columnists or correspondents — develop their own “personal brands:”

“There will still be a need and a market for good reporters, but the people who succeed will be the ones who work in a variety of media for a variety of bosses, moving quickly between assignments and selling to the highest bidder. They will be adept at promoting themselves as the brand rather than their employers. A few prominent journalists have done this in the past. In the future, nearly all will need to work this way. The Politico recognizes this and that’s why it may be an early glimpse at the future of news media.”

I have my doubts about those prospects. At least for the time being. But for those of us on the outside of newsrooms, that ethic is absolutely essential.

• Victor Hernandez of CNN sent this link via Twitter today on how media outlets increasingly are using digital gadgetry to do the news. I seriously doubt the likes of Michael Kinsley still could care less. Probably not even after some noted success with Twitter at the Republican National Convention.

• Is the media doing its “job” in covering the phenomenon that is Sarah Palin? Jay Rosen is struck by reading a high-profile political reporter essentially confessing:

“COOPER: Mark, has there ever been a vice presidential candidate who has yet to talk to the press at this point in the race?

“HALPERIN: No. It’s another thing that, again, I’m embarrassed about our profession for. She should be held more accountable for that.

“The ‘bridge to nowhere’ thing is outrageous. And if you press them on it, they’ll fall because they know they can’t defend what they’re saying. They’re staying it on the stump as a core part of their message, it’s in their advertising.

“I’m not saying the press should be out to get John McCain and Sarah Palin. But if a core part of their message is something that every journalist — journalism organization in the country has looked at and says it’s demonstrably false, again, we’re not doing our jobs if we just treat this as one of many things that’s happening.”

But it looks like the political press today will ramp up its obsession with more trivial pursuits, namely whether uttering “lipstick on a pig” is insulting because the woman on the ticket has already paraphrased it to her advantage. And look what The Politico is centerpiecing for the moment.

I haven’t decided what shade to wear today. Oink, oink.


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