In fact one small town, local paper has been trying to interview Clinton for ten months. It took the glowing piece in the New York Times, of Obama's access, that Team Clinton is now, copying.
On the Sunday evening following Thanksgiving, John Beaudoin received the phone call he had been waiting ten long months for. Beaudin who publishes two weekly newspapers in Iowa, the Logan Herald-Observer (circulation 1,427) and the smaller Woodbine Twiner (circulation 1,143) had been e-mailing and calling the Clinton campaign since January to request an interview with the senator.
He finally heard back this past weekend, the day after a well publicized appearance by Obama in the region and a prominent story in the New York Times commending the Obama campaign's outreach to local weekly and daily newspapers, as also noted at The Rural Blog, of the University of Kentucky’s Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues.
Referring to the phone call he received from the Clinton campaign as a "breakthrough," Beaudoin said that he found its timing to be "rather odd."
What happened? What is the change of heart? It is publicly known that Clinton does not care for the media, unless they follow her script. We know that. So, what happened? Beaudin indicated:
She dropped in the polls recently... We've offered her front-page space for the past 10 months -- just like all the other candidates. It's always time constraints and one person gets the message and the other person doesn't get the message."
Does a drop in the Washington Post/ABC News make an organization do a total 360, and grant small town papers access?
Obama knew from inception that a conversation with local media would not only help those get to know him better, but his policies and positions on issues.
In Iowa, a state that has the highest newspaper readership per capita, that impact is even more profound. There are 39 daily newspapers and 272 weeklies in the state. Campaigns like Obama's generally attempt to reach a handful of these papers to get local coverage in each county they visit.
When you are in states like Iowa and New Hampshire, local outreach is very important. As we see for Iowa, above, the state has the highest newspaper readership. Why would you not want outreach to the locals?
After delivering a speech and taking questions Monday from voters here in Clarion, a town of 3,000 people in north-central Iowa, Mr. Obama had one more item on his itinerary: a conversation with The Clarion Wright County Monitor.
As a dozen or so reporters for big-city papers, magazines and television networks packed their bags and headed to the next campaign stop, Mr. Obama lingered behind to chat with Barb Mussman, publisher of the weekly newspaper. For 17 years she has been putting out the paper, but never before has a presidential campaign offered an interview.
"In this job, you wouldn’t think you’d be affected by things like that," she said. "But I laid awake half the night thinking of my questions."
It is this outreach that DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
It means you have taken time to speak to that town's local reporter, publisher and they matter. Period.
The majority of newspapers reported being able to get a few minutes with a candidate either immediately after the event during the rope line or with a one-on-one interview. Clinton was the exception in this case. Both Edwards' and Obama's staff were praised for their efforts to reach out to reporters and provide access to the candidate.
This also goes back to the type of campaign Team Clinton, prefers to run. Top/Down. Come into an event, limited, if any questions, and then LEAVE. No time to talk, no time for anything. And we all understand the time restrictions, but if you are trying to win Iowa, you do have to spend time there. And that also means with the local press.
I applaud Obama and Edwards for their openness to the local media. Most Iowans read newspapers, so it does matter. No one wants an editor or publisher thinking this way of their candidate: