MediaFile

from Jack Shafer:

OTUS and the golden age of political reporting

Just what the country needed: Another political Web site.

At the beginning of the week, ABC News launched OTUS, its political news supermarket with its top political reporters (Jake Tapper, Jonathan Karl, Amy Walter, and George Stephanopoulos) hunkering on the site's home page. OTUS threatens to dice, grind, sieve, and aerosol the complex business of campaigns and the affairs of the state into inhalable powder.

As Tapper says in this promo, OTUS (short for of the United States as in, POTUS, president of the United States, or SCOTUS, supreme court of the United States) is all about the "power moves, the mini-dramas, the scheming" in politics. Tapper promises that OTUS will flag both the "urgent and the ridiculous," offer games, display correspondents' Twitter feeds, and create a stock market-style ticker that assesses the rising and falling worth of candidates with social media.

ABC News has expanded its Web efforts at what is obviously a late date. SalonSlateTalking Points MemoYahoo PoliticsPoliticoRealClearPoliticsRed StateHuffington Post PoliticsFiveThirtyEightMother JonesNational Review OnlineDaily BeastDaily CallerRoll CallThe HillCNN Politics, NBC's First Read, Time 's SwamplandNational Journal, specialty sections at the Washington Post, the New York TimesNew York magazine, the Associated PressBloomberg News, and Reuters, as well as numerous other sites already cover the beat, and cover it well.

That ABC News would join the specialists speaks to both the audience's insatiable appetite for political news and the network's confidence that nobody owns this market. It's a good call: Such is the Web audience's fickleness, the ease with which they can skip pages, that nobody can own the market for news anymore. They can't even rent it. News organizations can't own their journalistic stars the way they used to, either. In the old days, the only place for a reporter or editor at a top-tier newspaper or magazine to migrate was another top-tier newspaper or magazine, or maybe a TV network, or maybe a career in books. But not anymore. Reporters now move from the New York Times to the Huffington Post with such regularity that the MTA is thinking of digging a special subway line to accommodate them.

Not to oversell the current scene, but the proliferation of political news sites—and my apologies to those I didn't name—means we're living in a bit of a golden age of political reporting. At least when it comes to national politics and national government, there have never been more reporters competing to break news. Not everything on the menu tastes great, but there's no denying it's a feast.

First-time voters want *less* election news

yawning-boy.jpgI’m skipping the attempt at a witty first sentence and going straight to the press release:

Young adults often click away from 2008 election news online because they feel the sites bombard them with too much information and too many choices, according to a new study released by Northwestern University’s Media Management Center.

Here’s more: The MMC survey of 89 young people between the age of 17 and 22 — who are eligible to vote for president for the first time in 2008 — found that while they are interested in the elections and want information about the candidates and issues, they don’t want to spend much time following day-to-day developments. However, they do appreciate news sites that help them — and other new voters — understand the basics about the candidates, issues and election process.