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Traditional Reporters v Bloggers — Who Asks Pols Better Questions

Slate’s Trailhead column notes:

You know it’s 2007 when a candidate, in this case Mike Huckabee, holds a bifurcated conference call, first with reporters, then with bloggers. I listened in on both calls to see what the differences were. The reporters’ questions were much more concise and polished. But the bloggers’ questions were more substantive by a long shot.
The only thing wrong with this picture is the bifurcation. Put them all on the same call, candidates.

2 Comments on “Traditional Reporters v Bloggers — Who Asks Pols Better Questions”

  1. #1 Jon Garfunkel
    on Nov 26th, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    Reading through the posts of the bloggers (mostly supporters), none of them seemed to have minded. Maybe they were able to focus better that way.

    True, the bloggers may have cared more personally about their issues. But it’s possible that the reporters have already asked the deep substantive questions, and that’s why they revert to the “horse race” questions.

    True the distinction is starting to get dizzy. U.S. News was in on the “reporters” call and and covered it through their News-Desk “blog.” The blog is indexed by Google News, and not by Google Blog Search (More than a candidate’s communications staff, Google has a powerful say between what is “News” and what is “blog.”) The reporter, Paul Bedard, used the impersonal reporting style (“In answering questions from U.S. News…”)

    To my tastes, the magazine-length article conveys the candidates best.

  2. #2 Robin Hamman
    on Nov 28th, 2007 at 2:56 am

    As part of my role at the BBC, I used to often find myself running web chats with politicians, local police chiefs and various other opinion formers.

    We’d promote the chat on air and members of the public would submit questions via the chat interface. Producing the chat, I’d see the questions come in and, one at a time, would present the best questions to the interviewee.

    On many occasions the guest would tell me, after the chat, that it had been the most grueling interview they’d ever been subjected to – in two instances that I can recall specifically, these were Government Minister used to press conferences and high pressure interviews on television and radio.

    Personally, I think it has something to do with members of the public having no reason to hold back questions that journalists might not ask because “it’s not the done thing”. I assume that bloggers, most of them new to the political interview table, come out with interesting questions for the same reason and, perhaps, because they’ve asked their audience to help them.