Monday, January 17, 2011

Where News is Power

"Aides Fight to Be Well Armed," at NYT (FWIW):
WASHINGTON — Bobby Maldonado has the morning routine of a well-trained marathoner.

With the help of three alarm clocks, he gets up at 4 a.m., is showered and out the door in less than an hour, and scans his BlackBerry almost constantly as he makes his pretimed 12- to 13-minute trek to the Red Line Metro stop where he catches the first train downtown.

He knows exactly where to stand so he can get into the car that deposits him just steps from the escalator at the Farragut North station. “It’s an efficiency thing,” he explained, “so I don’t get stuck behind people, so I hit the crosswalk at the right minute.” Cutting diagonally across Farragut Square, he arrives at his office at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on H Street just after 5:30 a.m. There, in a darkened cubicle, he scans the Internet for the day’s news and condenses it into a two-page memo that he shoots off to Thomas J. Donohue, the Chamber’s president, and other top executives before 8 a.m. He is never late.

Mr. Maldonado, 26, is one of the dozens of young aides throughout the city who rise before dawn to pore over the news to synthesize it, summarize it and spin it, so their bosses start the day well-prepared. Washington is a city that traffics in information, and as these 20-something staff members are learning, who knows what — and when they know it — can be the difference between professional advancement and barely scraping by.

“Information is the capital market of Washington, so you know something that other people don’t know and you know something earlier than other people know it, is a formulation for increasing your status and power,” said David Perlmutter, the director of the University of Iowa’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “So any edge you can use to get stuff faster, earlier, better or exclusively is very important.”
This is interesting.

There's more at
the link, but I like this passage especially:
Getting up early is nothing new, but the lightning speed of news on the Internet and the proliferation of outlets like Politico, which place a premium on “winning” the day, has made the job more demanding and pushed the mornings ever earlier.
I can spend all day blogging and searching for a scoop, so this hits close to home. An interesting study might be to examine how much greater a premium political actors put on up-to-the minute information today than in earlier years. It's not like this kind of thing is new. Back in the '60s, President Johnson had three televisions set up so he could flip back and forth between the major networks. And since at least Bill Clinton's administration, political campaigns have deployed rapid response teams working, ready and able to have "fact-check" ads on the air within 24-hours. But that quote with Politico recognizes a new qualitative dimension, illustrating the changes in the news cycle wrought by Internet technology. That is different.

RELATED: From Jake Tapper, "
J ‘Accuse! President Obama Says Chamber of Commerce Using Foreign Funds to Influence US Elections, " and Doug Ross, "Ruh Roh: In 2010 the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Gave 43% of its Contributions to Democrats."