The Times West Virginian

Community News Network

February 25, 2013

Covering Obama: Is this trip worth it?

WASHINGTON — No one ever said covering the most powerful man in the world would be cheap. But given how the White House has treated the traveling press lately, some journalists are wondering whether covering President Barack Obama on the road is worth the enormous investment.

News organizations whose reporters hitched a ride on Air Force One to cover President Obama's trip to Florida over the Presidents' Day weekend will pay about $3,500 for the three-day journey once all the bills — air and ground transportation, hotels and food — are counted up.

The money didn't buy much, however. The White House Correspondents' Association lodged a formal protest with White House officials last week after reporters were barred from seeing any part of Obama's activities, including a round of golf with Tiger Woods. Obama spoke with reporters on the trip home, but only on an off-the-record basis, meaning none of what he said could be reported.

With media outlets under increasing financial pressure, some question whether routine presidential trips provide much bang for the buck — or rather, millions of bucks, which is what it costs some news outlets to keep up with Obama throughout the year.

The steep cost of following the president here and there has led many news organizations to cut back their travel. Among those that have dropped regular reporting trips: Time magazine, whose former White House correspondent, Jay Carney, now serves as Obama's press secretary.

Some reporters suggest that traveling with the president has a limited upside, anyway. For one thing, many reporters don't get much more than a glimpse of the president during his trips. They have to rely on the same "pool" reports that journalists back home receive at the same time that they do. (Pool reports are dispatches to the press corps from reporters designated to attend events that can accommodate only a limited number.) Under strictly observed rules, only the wire services can break news ahead of the distribution of the pool report to everyone else. The wire services enjoy this privilege because they cover the president on every trip.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 21, 2014

  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    The paper looked at how many delicious steamed sliders the minimum wage has been able to purchase over time. The point is that as it notes, in 1981, the $3.35 minimum could buy a whole dozen. Today, at $7.25, it could purchase just 10.

    April 21, 2014

  • VIDEO: Moose charges snowmobile, flees after warning shot

    While snowmobiling in New England, Bob and Janis Powell of Maine were charged by a moose and caught the entire attack on camera.

    April 21, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 21, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads