Washington Post editor discusses 2012 presidential election coverage

The national political editor of The Washington Post discussed how the new media landscape is changing the coverage of the 2012 presidential election Thursday night at Arizona State University.   

“The versatility of what our journalists do now is much, much broader than it used to be,” Steven Ginsberg told an audience of more than 100 people at the sixth annual Paul J. Schatt Memorial Lecture at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “The journalism we do is similar to what we used to do and also very different.”

Ginsberg, who supervises the Post’s political coverage over all platforms, said the use of multiple platforms has changed the publication’s approach to presenting the news. 

“We want people not just to come to The Washington Post the next day to find out what happened yesterday and what to think about it,” he said. “We want people there at the moment it happens.”

The Post’s digital media offerings include a live blog and a recently introduced iPad app, Ginsberg said. The live blog is the centerpiece of an effort to bring readers to the Post’s website at the moment news breaks, while the iPad app helps distill news into the information that audiences most want to know.   

Ginsberg emphasized that while technological innovations help enhance the way news is presented, good storytelling is still at the heart of journalism.

“A good story is still the best thing in journalism,” he said. “If you write a good story, it works on every platform.”

Ginsberg began his journalism career at the Post in 1994. He covered local and state politics in Virginia before moving to the regional transportation beat. In 2006, he became a metro editor, and the following year he was part of the editing team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the mass shootings at Virginia Tech.

A self-described “campaign addict,” Ginsberg was part of the Post’s national political team for the 2008 presidential election as well as the top editor of its coverage of the Virginia gubernatorial race the following year. He rejoined the paper’s national political staff in 2010 as deputy political editor, leading coverage of that year’s midterm elections. He was named the Post’s national political editor in 2011.

The Cronkite School established the Schatt lecture series in 2007 in honor of longtime Arizona Republic reporter, editor and columnist Paul Schatt, who was an adjunct faculty member at the Cronkite School for more than 30 years.

The series is supported by an annual gift from The Arizona Republic and an endowment created in Schatt’s memory by his widow, Laura Schatt-Thede.