The News Tip: Stay Mindful Of Politics’ Visitors

With election season in full swing now, the sheer amount of media coverage can be daunting to anyone trying to follow the races.

For the press covering politics, NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik has this reminder: Most people are visitors to the land of political obsession, not full-time residents.

Folkenflik tells Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin that much of the campaign coverage “assumes that everybody is up to date on real minutiae.”

Some people don’t have the time to keep up with minor — or even major — developments.

“If you go abroad, you know you want a good tour guide who tells you where the locals go for a beer or where to watch the sunset,” Folkenflik says, “but you don’t want somebody who’s going to tell you what the fights are about local parking ordinances.”

At times, the magnitude of events can be blown out of proportion. For those who want the inside-baseball perspective, blogs and Twitter feeds abound. Still, Folkenflik says the press should be aware of their emphasis and focus.

“If you’re going to talk about how much money a candidate raises, it’s really important to say, ‘Well, what do you do with that money? Who was it raised from and what is it going to be used for?'” he says.

During this election cycle in particular, the media audience is exposed to a lot of information. Folkenflik says with that comes faster and more intense reporting, so journalists can more easily lose sight of which developments are most important.

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