So You Want to Cover the Campaign?

LAVIN, FRANKLIN L.

So Want to Cover the Campaign? An employment test for aspiring political journalists. by Franklin L. Lavin As the political season heats up, there is a need for journalists who can master the...

...Besides, all the other reporters, analysts, and even the candidates and their organizations wholeheartedly agree...
...This is equally newsworthy and deserving of discussion...
...3. Interpretation...
...2. Analysis...
...c. criticize the front-runner for taking a cautious approach to an issue...
...This simple quiz will help you determine whether you have the skills necessary for this critical profession...
...b. very little since the United States is a large and wealthy nation whose population spends more on pizzas and toothpaste than it does on politics...
...Which sentence does not fit...
...Answers: All are correct...
...1. Statistics...
...a. Although anti-poverty programs often fail to lift people out of poverty and potentially promote harmful behavior, a candidate who wants to trim these programs is heartless and greedy...
...b. ignore the speech and file a humorous item on how his campaign ineptly sent a direct mail fund-raising solicitation to his opponentó since the "Ted Kennedy-mistakenly-got-hit-up-for-a-donation-by-the-Republicans" story is always good for a cheap laugh...
...c. a candidate's lag among women voters may mean that his opponent is lagging among men voters...
...It is 30 minutes before your deadline...
...c. Although agricultural subsidies overwhelmingly go to large agribusinesses, a candidate who wants to reduce these programs hates family farmers...
...Familiarize yourself with offer curves, demand elasticities, import and export figures, and provisions of major trade bills to complete your article...
...b. candidates' appeal always varies by gender, race, religion, ethnicity, income, and age...
...The fact that more money will be spent on campaigns this election cycle than ever before means . . . a. very little since inflation and population growth explain most if not all of the increase...
...You should...
...Praise a dark horse for offering novel policy initiatives...
...An underdog takes a seemingly bold stand on an issue...
...The candidate you are covering just outlined a detailed trade policy initiative in a major speech...
...The upcoming primaries are likely to be among the most hard-fought and divisive ever because . . . a. it gives journalists a feeling of self-worth to ascribe importance to the events you cover...
...d. One test of leadership is the ability to withstand pressure from groups that seek more from the government...
...a. ignore the competitive dynamic between front-runners and laggards causing front-runners to protect their lead and be cautious, while the underdog tries unconventional approaches to make news...
...as those that dealt with slavery, war, Prohibition, and civil rights...
...b. ignore the fact that the "underdog" is as much an establishment fixture as the front-runner and has never vigorously pursued the issue he now pretends to care about so passionately...
...b. Although the best funded school districts frequently produce the worst results, a candidate who wants to look at alternatives to public school monopolies is heartless and greedy...
...b. this thesis is impossible to disprove...
...6. Bonus Question...
...If a candidate performs worse among women voters than among men it means . . . a. different demographic groups have different preferences for everything from movies to cars, so it is predictable that they should have different preferences for presidential candidates, too...
...He served as White House political director under Ronald Reagan...
...d. the candidate is hostile to women, and unless he starts to pay more attention to "women's issues," he could lose the election...
...c. the very nature of our democracy is imperiled, with special interests dominating and distorting the process to such an extent that the average person does not have a chance anymore...
...And in any event, the campaign, your colleagues, your readers, and your editors will have moved on to another issue by the end of the day...
...Anything you write is plausible: Hey, it "might" happen...
...You should . . . a. mock the candidate's inability to pronounce the name of the secretary general of the World Trade Organization...
...This is neither surprising, nor necessarily significant...
...You will make an excellent political journalist...
...4. Advanced Statistics...
...by Franklin L. Lavin As the political season heats up, there is a need for journalists who can master the complexities of a political campaign...
...5. Advanced Analysis...
...c. it puts into perspective political contests previously thought to have been hard-fought and divisive, such Franklin L. Lavin is a banker in Singapore...
...c. discuss the substance of his remarks...

Vol. 5 • October 1999 • No. 6


 
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