CNN’s 2016 Campaign
The New York Times’ Nick Corasaniti writes about CNN’s Campaign 2016 coverage and manages to do so without bringing up countdown clocks…
Live town hall meetings are not a new invention in the televised coverage of presidential politics. But with anchors like Mr. Cooper moderating, fact-checking and bantering, CNN has turned the genre into a powerful supplement — if not antidote — to the often-acrimonious debates: long, seemingly informal conversations in which candidates can be pressed at length, but can also take the opportunity to get their points across without being sniped at or interrupted, and to show more than a little personality and charm.
They have also become a moneymaker for CNN: More than 2.3 million tuned into the Greenville town hall. And in the highest form of flattery, other networks, like MSNBC, have begun hosting similar events.
Yet the town halls are only one of the most visible ways that CNN has overhauled its campaign coverage, 18 months after Mr. Zucker said he decided to go “all in” on politics.
Committing $50 million more than it spent in 2012, CNN added 45 journalists to its political team. It doubled the size of its special events and logistics unit, making it possible to negotiate, plan and execute the town halls in a matter of days. Online, its political reporting has all but taken over the network’s home page.
Those resources have let CNN embark on one of the most aggressive campaign coverage plans, with reporters trailing every major presidential candidate and stationed in each early-nominating state.
“We don’t have to make choices anymore,” Mr. Feist said, about where to go or whom to cover.