2016: Prepping for the Biggest Political Event in Media History


The race for 45th president of the United States is expected to be one of the most expensive in the country’s history. Just as presidential hopefuls assemble their teams and ramp up fundraising for the 2016 election, major news organizations are suiting up and preparing to cover the road to November 2016. The mere fact that news outlets are prepping their coverage is no surprise given the historic increase in interest from viewers and readers around election time. What is surprising, however, are the early and massive investments news organizations are already making in their 2016 campaign coverage, making the cost of covering the campaigns nearly as impressive as the cost of waging them.

The Washington Post recently reported on the “arms race of political reporters” among top news organizations like Bloomberg, CNN, and POLITICO. In February, the New York Times named veteran Times reporter and editor David Halbfinger their presidential campaign editor and they have hired POLITICO’s Maggie Haberman and Alex Burns to bolster their 2016 efforts. Breaking campaign news well, if even just minutes before your competitors, is worth viewers and dollars to every major media player. As a result, journalists are being wooed with historically competitive compensation. Bloomberg recently hired two editors who will each rake in over $1 million a year to lead the national political team. And with the focus on both quality and quantity when it comes to political media teams, the market has priced promising, but relatively unseasoned, journalists’ starting salaries at $150,000.

This arms race isn’t just between national media organizations either, regional outlets are also throwing a lot of weight behind their 2016 coverage. The Boston Globe, an outlet that had the home field advantage in covering the Kerry 2004 and Romney 2012 races, says it is “ramping up” its operation this year with a focus on the nearby New Hampshire primary, a crucial primary state for any presidential hopeful. And with the recent hiring of James Pindell to the team, it’s clear The Globe is positioning itself to be the authority on New Hampshire primary news.

One thing is certain about the next 19 months: we are in for an interesting and historic race, and that’s saying nothing of the fight to be the next commander in chief.