I double-majored in journalism and political science as an undergraduate. The professor who taught me the most about being a reporter often said that it is the duty of a good journalist to make the news interesting–especially the important issues.
Is the 2004 presidential campaign interesting now?
Howard Kurtz considers the early press coverage. He buys into the conventional wisdom that citizens don’t care this far in advance of the primaries. I would contend that this lack of interest, if it actually exists, derives from poor coverage.
The press may certainly attempt to spice up the coverage with non-political fluff, e.g. the heritage of Sen. John Kerry’s grandfather. Or, the press could choose to take in-depth looks into the crucial issues of the day, demonstrate what they mean in human terms, and explore how the clash of ideology and policy affects the socio-political experiences of Americans.
Naaaahhh…too much work.
UPDATE (10:45 a.m.): More Kurtz commentary today–he says this about FOX’s Bill O’Reilly: “O’Reilly is a talented performer who loves the thumb-in-the-eye approach…” Note that “performer” is not a synonym for “journalist.”