U.S. media on overdrive covering GOP Iowa caucuses

Campaign trail coverage of the Iowa Caucuses on Tuesday, Jan. 3, is in full swing. By the end of December, the campaign was the most-covered story in U.S. media for the fifth time in seven weeks, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Cable networks have announced their plans for special coverage, reported TVNewser, and while conservative Fox News "is trying to appear to have a more traditional presentation" of the Republican caucuses, MSNBC "seems to have thrown objectivity to the wind," which "could be a lot of fun" and "may offer a perfect complement to the other networks," according to Mediaite.

Google also has just launched an "online information hub" designed to be a one-stop-shop for campaign and election coverage, according to Mashable. Besides offering live Google hangouts with journalists covering the campaigns, the new Google Politics & Elections site also will include news stories sorted by candidate and issue, and links to election-related YouTube videos.

When it comes to social media, the GOP caucuses "will be the first national test of how the tone of conversation on Twitter can affect a campaign," said the San Francisco Chronicle. Also, Slate pointed out that journalists' tweets from Iowa are littered with cliches. A study from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism also noted that "political conversation on Twitter is markedly different than that on blogs -- and both are decidedly different than the political narrative presented by the mainstream press... Campaign discourse on Twitter tended to be more opinionated and often more negative about candidates than on blogs and in the news."

Meanwhile, David Sirota for Salon criticized the Iowa caucus media coverage as "disturbingly lazy," and the Columbia Journalism Review has some advice for journalists moving on to cover presidential primaries once the Iowa caucuses come to an end: "Journalists should recognize that 'momentum' is a subjective interpretation of the results that they help to create. Reporters in New Hampshire and other early states ought to think carefully about how to select and frame their post-Iowa stories rather than passively accepting the conventional wisdom about the state of the race."