Inside (Covering) Politics

James Estrin interviewed New York Times’ colleague Jim Wilson about covering politics and how it’s changed over the last 30 years for the Lens blog.

I did three primaries in New Hampshire, loved every minute of them and would happily spend a few wintry weeks back up there to do it again. Wilson’s comment on access is telling about how it’s changed:

That’s the really sad part of this. The access has gotten much more restrictive for a number of different reasons. First of all, there are many, many more people covering than there ever were. You have to spend a lot of time with candidates and their staff to get them to know you and hopefully convince them that your images and audience have something to offer them. So that they will allow you to do things that are more inside and behind the scenes … I’m struck by the tremendous number of photographers and videographers who are providing coverage. There are many more people than just four years ago. At today’s Romney event in Derry, I counted 52 people in the buffer area around the candidate before I stopped counting.

Mark E. Johnson

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