Each weekend I post a “Weekly Wrap,” or my impressions of the race as they played out during the past seven days.
Giuda sat down with a news outlet to explain his remarks and several bloggers declared that I had caused the “death of a campaign,” (although this was probably a bit dramatic). Read the original story here.
I’m proud of the reporting I did and how the story evolved, although I would welcome your comments or suggestions. Leave one below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are the three things I took away from the experience:
1. Bob Giuda certainly stands behind his words — whatever those words may be
On Monday, Bob Giuda told a group of high school students that gay marriage was the “downfall of the nation,” the cause of the fall of Sparta, and now-famously said “What’s next? Men and sheep? Women and dogs?”
As I wrote these words down in my notebook, I knew that they would cause a stir. And I half expected Giuda to dispute them. They were unscripted, spoken to teenagers arguing with him about controversial topics, and probably not ones campaign managers would advise a candidate to deliver.
But to Giuda’s credit — and in a manner that is quite reflective of what I’ve seen of his campaign so far — he basically stood behind what he said. He unfortunately tried to qualify his statement about animals, but he did not issue a wholesale recall.
There is no doubt that his words were offensive to many people. But you have to hand it to the guy for sticking to his word.
2. But this really wasn’t what Giuda needed
But while the candidate’s sticking to his word were admirable, the words themselves were not — and others were quick to point this out. Gay rights activists as well as other politicians and political commentators labeled the remarks highly offensive, and called on Giuda to apologize.
And as politics guru James Pindell pointed out so aptly, “The most attention his campaign has ever received was on this gaffe.” Bummer.
3. Technology and journalism are each powerful — and together, can make a lethal combo
This statement might seem highly obvious. Of course journalism and technology are powerful. But watching one quote go from the candidate’s mouth to a talking point on the New Hampshire Democratic Party‘s website was really stunning.
In some ways, I thought the experience was more a testament to the failure of the “traditional” news media to cover the race than any of my own journalistic skill. Most papers don’t have the resources or the time to send reporters to every campaign stop,which is understandable, but means I am often the only reporter attending events.
There’s no reason for papers not to hire a tech-savvy intern to do some blogging or camera work, provide a forum for interested readers, or even get political activists to write about their experiences online. I’m as much of a print news junkie as the next girl, but it is a race for the United States Congress, after all. It’s time to get creative in covering it and take advantage of the resources modern journalism can offer.
One such resource that played an important role in this week’s event was Twitter. A micro-blogging website, it has become an invaluable resource both to reporters and politicians working to get their message out to a wider public, and I think it will only continue to do so. (For those politicians who haven’t mastered the art yet, you should. Soon.)
With one re-Tweet from the right person, an obscure blog post like mine can become a virtual internet sensation. While it does promote the sort of “sound bite” media we’ve become accustomed to, it also provides a vast amount of information to interested audiences and makes “on the ground” reporting possible. It also means candidates like Bob Giuda can’t make off-hand remarks and expect them to go un-heard.
It’s certainly not your grandmother’s journalism. But it’s pretty cool.