Media Coverage
Sen. John Edwards Trip to NH, Feb. 1-3, 2002
Sen. Edwards' visit generated a fair amount of coverage, given that he has not declared himself a candidate and that it is almost two years until the primary, but several factors cut down on the news a bit.   First, most of the activity occured on the weekend. (The major public event planned for Friday, a stop at New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord, was cancelled because weather closed the school).  Weather was a major story, as was the New England Patriots' participation in the Super Bowl on February 3.  On Friday, Edwards stopped in at the newsroom of WMUR-TV Channel 9, New Hampshire's powerhouse TV station, for about 15 minutes, five of which was an interview with Scott Spradling, anchor for the 5:00 newscast.  However, the station only aired a brief, introductory-type piece, a minute long, more or less, with a sound bite from Edwards(1).  Spradling said that due to Super Bowl weekend, the station was not able to catch up with Edwards at his other events around the state as its resources were tied up.  Television coverage was limited to C-SPAN, which ran 55 minutes from the Concord house party on its February 3 "American Politics" and another 46 minutes from the Merrimack Restaurant and the Keene house party on its February 10 "American Politics."

Friday's stop at the landmark Merrimack Restaurant on Elm Street in Manchester, which included interviews and a press availibility for local media, produced quite a bit of news and photos.  On Saturday and Sunday, a press van, driven by a former executive director of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, followed Edwards to his public events -- house parties in Concord, Keene, and Nashua on Saturday, and events in Portsmouth and a Dover house party on Sunday.  Reporters from a half a dozen national and North Carolina publications(2) took advantage of the van, and Edwards joined them as it traveled from Concord to Keene.  A smaller press contingent traveled on Sunday.  The local New Hampshire papers generally had a reporter/photographer (or a reporter and a photographer) on hand for the event in their area, except in Nashua.(3)

USA Today and the Baltimore Sun packaged the Edwards coverage into larger articles looking at the 2004 Democratic field; each of these articles was accompanied by a large photo of Edwards. Edwards' hometown paper, the News & Observer, provided the most lavish coverage of any of the news organizations.  The February 3 paper had three photos, including a front page, above-the-fold, three-column-wide color photo, and a lengthy article by Washington correspondent John Wagner.

The Associated Press Feb. 1, 2002 Will Lester, Associated Press Writer -Washington "Fast-rising Democrat Edwards tests his Southern charm in New Hampshire" (713 words)
The Associated Press Feb. 1, 2002 Holly Ramer, Associated Press Writer - Manchester "Edwards tests chilly political waters in first primary state" (675 words)
The Associated Press Feb. 2, 2002 - Keene (4) "Edwards gets a warm reception in chilly New Hampshire" (360 words)
The Associated Press Feb. 3, 2002 - Dover (4) "Edwards finishes trip to first primary state" (314 words)
The Associated Press Feb. 1-3, 2002 The Associated Press moved a total of 15 photos from Edwards' New Hampshire trip.
New York Times Feb. 4, 2002
page A21
B. Drummond Ayres Jr. -Manchester
photo: Ben Garvin for the NYT (5)
"In New Hampshire, a New Face Gets A Warm Welcome: Voters Seem Drawn to Southern Senator" (1046 words)
Concord house party--Edwards shaking hands w/ Chris Sullivan; Elizabeth Edwards and Nick Baldick in the background. (3-col. photo)
USA Today Feb. 4, 2002
page 7A
Susan Page, USA Today (6)
photo: Tim Dillon, USA Today
"Democrats limber up for a run in 2004: N.H. is already getting to know potential presidential candidates"
Merrimack Restaurant--Edwards shaking hands w/ Maria Saitis, co-owner of the restaurant. (3-col. photo) 
Baltimore Sun Feb. 4, 2002
page 1A, 4A
Paul West, Sun National Staff -Keene
photo: Associated Press
"An early start for Democrats: Candidates: A wide-open field and changes in primary elections have drawn an eager crowd of would-be presidential nominees to New Hampshire." (1050 words)
Keene house party--medium wide shot of Edwards speaking and attendees looking on. (4-col. photo on 4A)
Boston Globe Feb. 3, 2002
page A4, A5
Glen Johnson, Globe Staff
photo: AP Photo
"Edwards of N.C. dips toe in N.H.: Moved-up primary augurs more visits" (834 words)
Concord house party--medium wide shot over Edwards' shoulder showing him addressing attendees. (2-col. photo)
Creators Syndicate Feb. 5, 2002 Roger Simon "The icy rain falls..."
American Prospect (magazine) did not run Jon Margolis "The folks at American Prospect held it too long, for, as they said, 'the usual complicated reasons.'  ...They were most apologetic, though I suspect it was partly my fault; after all those years writing for daily newspapers, I may have made it too 'newsy' for a bi-weekly."
--Jon Margolis [April 17, 2002 e-mail]
C-SPAN Feb. 3, 2002
6:30pm, 9:30pm, and 12:30am ET
"American Politics" Concord house party--Edwards arriving at the house, walking around the house greeting people, making remarks and taking questions. (about 55 minutes at the top of the 90-minute program)
C-SPAN Feb. 10, 2002
6:30pm, 9:30pm, and 12:30am ET
"American Politics" ...roughly the last half of the 90-minute program:
Merrimack Restaurant--brief footage of Edwards arriving and greeting patrons; mostly USA Today's Lauren Ashburn and Susan Page interviewing Edwards and his wife, with several local reporters joining in. (about 30 minutes)
Keene house party--chit-chat before his remarks (about 16 minutes)
North Carolina
The News & Observer Feb. 3, 2002
Page 1A, 17A
John Wagner, Washington Correspondent
photos: AP Photos by Lee Marriner
"Testing the Waters: Up in New Hampshire, U.S. Sen. John Edwards has the moves of a presidential candidate; but he says he hasn't decided to run" (1896 words)
1. Merrimack Restaurant--Edwards shaking hands with Flo Gilman. (3-col., color photo on page 1 above the fold)
2. Merrimack Restaurant--Edwards and Baldick crossing the street in Manchester near the restaurant. (1-col., color photo on page 1 below the fold)
3. Concord house party--medium wide shot of Edwards laughing and house party attendees. (on page 17)
The News & Observer Feb. 4, 2002 John Wagner, Washington Correspondent - Portsmouth "Edwards finishes N.H. trip" (646 words)
The Charlotte Observer Feb. 1, 2002
page 1B, 6B (local--front)
Charlie Hurt, Observer Washington Bureau -Manchester
photo: file head shot (1/2 col.)
"Edwards flying to N.H. to test waters: It's N.C. senator's 1st trip to state as talked-about hopeful"  (677 words)
The Charlotte Observer Feb. 3, 2002
page 1B, 3B
Charlie Hurt, Observer Washington Bureau -Manchester
photo: file head shot
"Edwards the talk -- in D.C. and N.C.: Tar Heel senator has little name recognition across broader U.S."
New Hampshire
WMUR-TV 9 Feb. 1, 2002
News 9 at 5:00
Scott Spradling, News Anchor
WMUR News 9 at 5:00
A brief piece, only about a minute long, more or less, indicated that Edwards was in town and said who he was; the piece included an Edwards soundbite from his studio visit.
The Union Leader Feb. 2, 2002
page A5
Dale Vincent, Union Leader Staff
photo: David Lane/Union Leader
"N.C. Senator Edwards makes like a candidate in NH visit" (610 words)
Merrimack Restaurant--Edwards shaking hands with Flo Gilman. (2-col. photo)
NH Sunday News Feb. 3, 2002
page B1, B8
Stephen Seitz, Sunday News Correspondent - Keene (7) "Sen. Edwards piques interest of Keene voters: Lawmaker from North Carolina visits key Presidential primary state 'to share ideas.'" (586 words)
The Union Leader Feb. 4, 2002
page B2
AP-Dover "Edwards finishes trip to first primary state"
Concord Monitor Feb. 2, 2002
page A1 below the fold, A6
Amy McConnell, Monitor Staff
iphotos: Ben Garvin, Monitor staff
"Democratic rising star pays state a visit: Sen. John Edwards mum on 2004 intentions"
1. Merrimack Restaurant--Edwards and Baldick walking. (1-col. photo on page A1)
2. Merrimack Restaurant--tight shot of Edwards talking. (3-col. photo on page A6)
Keene Sentinel Feb. 3, 2002
page 3 (Region)
Cecily Weisburgh, Sentinel staff
iphoto: Michael Moore/Sentinel Staff
"Possible presidential contender gets warm welcome at Keene event." (about 20")
Keene house party--Edwards talking to the crowd inside the house.
The Telegraph (Nashua) No coverage -- see note (3) below.
Portsmouth Herald Feb. 4, 2002
Front Page, below the fold
Sara Newbury (8)
photo: Jim Korpi
"Democratic party booster talks politics in city shops"
Goldi's Deli--Edwards reading a menu. (2-col. photo)
Foster's Daily Democrat Feb. 4, 2002
Second Front
Sean Goodwin, Democrat Staff Writer
photo: Goodwin
"Democrat makes campaign stop in Dover"(9) (about 17")
Dover house party--Edwards and Boc

1. According to Spradling, in the soundbite used, Edwards said he "had learned early that not all wisdom is found inside the beltway in Washington DC.  He said he was going to talk about health care, social security, the budget and other issues with people in NH, and basically listen to what they had to say on these issues... he offered his background and introduced his wife, who accompanied him in the NH trip."

2. In the van: Roger Simon (Creator's Syndicate), B. Drummond Ayres Jr. (New York Times), Paul West (Baltimore Sun), Jon Margolis (American Prospect--veteran of the Chicago Tribune), John Wagner (News & Observer), and Charlie Hurt (Charlotte Observer) and this reporter.

3. Nick Pappas, Managing Editor of The Telegraph, explains [Feb. 7, 2002 e-mail], "We would have been happy to cover his visit to Nashua, but unfortunately no one notified us he would be here on that day.  Kevin Landrigan, our political reporter, wrote back in December that Edwards planned a trip to the state on the weekend of Feb. 1-3, but neither Kevin nor anyone here in the office ever received a fax, phone call or e-mail indicating he would be in Nashua on Feb. 2.  Hopefully, we'll get more notice next time."  In fact, the bad weather seems to have caused the problems by throwing off Landrigan's initial contact with Edwards.  Edwards' press secretary Mike Briggs stated [March 25, 2002 e-mail] that, "An interview with Kevin was scheduled at a restaurant near the Capitol on the Friday when we arrived.  Because weather closed the technical college where Senator Edwards also was supposed to appear that same day in Concord, we scrambled and rescheduled the interviews for Manchester.  I talked to Kevin by phone the day we arrived in New Hampshire.  He told me he was planning to hook up with us in Manchester, but as the day developed he couldn't make it."

4. On the weekend, AP relied on members to help with coverage ("protect us.")  In the case of the Feb. 3 AP article from Dover, Sean Goodwin, Durham/UNH reporter for Foster's Daily Democrat, penned the AP article in addition to the article that appeared in the Democrat on Feb. 4.  He noted [Feb. 7, 2002 e-mail], "The AP was mostly reaction which they asked for...I had more quotes from the senator in our article."

5. Garvin is a staff photographer for the Concord Monitor.

6. Page noted that her article is really on "where the Democratic presidential race stands." Nonetheless she did lead with Edwards, and there is a sizable photo of him accompanying the article.  She and Tim Dillon flew up from DC on Friday morning and returned at the end of the day.  They had hoped to do the school event (cancelled); instead she did some interviews with "political types" in Concord before proceeding to the Merrimack Restaurant.  The web version of the USA Today article has a photo from Edwards' Feb. 3 stop at Goldi's Deli in Portsmouth by Jim Korpi, AP instead of the Merrimack Restaurant photo.

7. Seitz has been a stringer for the paper for about two years, covering events in the western part of the state; he lives in Brattleboro, Vermont.

8. Sara Newbury is a stringer for the Herald and a former intern.

9. With respect to the headline reference to a "campaign stop," Goodwin states [Feb. 7, 2002 e-mail], "For the record I made it clear in the article that the Senator had not declared or set a time line to declare a run for president."

Copyright © 2002 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action