1. Monday, August 11, 2008

    top of the ticket makes editor and publisher 

    the times’ oldest and most popular bloggers get some love in one of the best newspaper-centric blogs out there. today it’s about how they will cover the conventions.

    This time around, newspapers plan to cover the conventions in ways that seemed unimaginable eight years ago. The most obvious sign of change is the number of papers that have embraced — and now emphasize — blogging. Doyle McManus, Washington Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times, says, “I think that four years ago, newspapers were very tentative and uncertain as to whether blogging was something we ought to do at all.”

    Now, McManus is a believer. Two of the most popular newspaper political blogs in the country come from Tribune newspapers: the Chicago Tribune’s “The Swamp” and the L.A. Times’ “Top of the Ticket” blog, which McManus says has been the paper’s “most successful blog all year, even more than the [Los Angeles] Lakers blog.”

    The men behind “Top of the Ticket” are veteran Times reporters Andrew Malcolm and Don Frederick. The idea, as presented to senior editors in the early spring of ’07, Malcolm explains, “was to have a virtually ’round-the-clock blog with one man in D.C. and one in L.A. writing on a wide-ranging array of unpredictable subjects … to explain the political process in an unpredictable way, with some attitude.” According to Malcolm’s numbers, “Top of the Ticket” attracted 2.68 million views in May 2008 alone.

    So what do Frederick, Malcolm, and their editors have on tap for the conventions? Videos, live chats, interviews with leaders and celebrities, “anything we can think of,” says Malcolm. The paper will also have a full-time videographer on hand and likely will contribute to Tribune’s television coverage. Malcolm will cover the GOP confab in St. Paul, while Frederick will head to Denver.

    Malcolm’s agenda is typical of the methods other reporters will employ to help bolster their papers’ coverage. “We will be somewhat more focused on covering the conventions on the Web,” says Richard Stevenson, political editor for The New York Times. “Having a real-time update system will allow us to cover other aspects of the convention, rather than taking that single snapshot for the daily paper.”

    top of the ticket is currently 94 with a bullet on technorati.