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Op/Ed: How Not to Cover Trump’s 2024 Campaign

Journalism Professor Urges More Preparation, Discipline to Provide Facts, Clarity

By Tom Rosenstiel

Donald Trump sits opposite from a female reporter

Former President Donald Trump sits for a "Meet the Press" interview with Kristen Welker. In an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times, a journalism professor explains where Welker went wrong and how other reporters can learn from her mistakes.

Photo by William B. Plowman/NBC via Getty Images

Journalists looking for the playbook on how to cover former President Donald Trump’s 2024 reelection campaign are coming up empty: There’s no precedent of a candidate running while under multiple indictments and saying so many things that are demonstrably false.

Journalists assigned to report on him need to recognize their changed role in this era of dramatic political polarization, says Tom Rosenstiel, Eleanor Merrill Scholar on the Future of Journalism at the University of Maryland. In a new essay in The Los Angeles Times, where he is a former media writer, he suggests journalists stop following Trump—or any other presidential candidates—around or attending rallies.

This conventional approach inevitably leads to stories on campaign tactics and horse-race coverage. Most voters don’t care. The press does it because it’s easy.

The 2024 race will be nothing like what journalists have encountered in past elections. They would better serve the public if they changed their habits and shifted their resources to four other dimensions of the campaign.

Read the rest in The Los Angeles Times.



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