NBC goes to print for '08 race


NEW YORK -- NBC News is reaching into the world of print to help it cover the 2008 presidential election.

NBC News is teaming up with the National Journal Group for reporters who will go in-depth with the candidates on the campaign trail beginning late this summer. The staff will be a mix of new hires and existing employees from NBC News and National Journal; all the staff will be on board within the month.

These "mobile campaign bureau" journalists will cover the candidates and political events with a mixture of text, audio and video to supplement the work of NBC News crews. The blogs, video blogs and other material will appear on platforms from NBC to MSNBC and MSNBC.com as well as the National Journal, the Hotline and CongressDaily.

NBC News political director Chuck Todd said Friday that the network is looking for a different approach in this year's coverage beyond what NBC News already is planning. Print reporters, who will be trained in video, fit the bill more this year than the "campaign embed" strategy that was employed during the 2004 presidential campaign.

"When you're trying to report behind the scenes, you want someone with a political junkie's perspective," Todd said.

There will be a "mobile campaign bureau" following a number of the candidates. Not every candidate will be covered all the time, though.

"We want to have some flexibility with these folks, not to just do what television is accused of all the time, covering the front-runners," Todd said.