Monday, September 20, 2004

Welcome to the club, Mr. Lyman

Reading Rick Lyman's piece about stalking Vice President Cheney in yesterday's New York Times Week in Review, your blogstress knew not whether to laugh or cry.

To his credit, Mr. Lyman has not let the vice president's refusal to allow him (or any other New York Times reporter) to travel with the rest of the press corps on Air Force Two get in the way of covering Mr. Cheney on the campaign trail. Flying commercial, renting cars to drive to Podunk, wedging himself between Secret Service agents and adoring fans, Mr. Lyman has logged countless miles in pursuit of the elusive Number Two.

He writes an entertainingly disjointed tail about the whole experience, which deftly reflects the disjointedness of the life the undeterred but dispossessed reporter must lead in search of his quarry. And Mr. Lyman certainly performs a public service by pulling the curtain to reveal just how pack journalism and left-out-of-the-pack journalism work.

Minus the expense account Mr. Lyman calls "a splendid thing", your cybertrix found the Timesman's tale of stalking the veep terribly familiar. This is how the most effective journalism, as practiced by your humble blogstress, gets done.

Who needs credentials when moxie will do? Your blogstress has tailed evangelists in a Rent-a-Wreck, attended political conventions with no passes, made herself invisible in order to transgress rope lines, grazed off the pizza boxes left behind by expense-account journos and crashed the hotel bed of at least one well-heeled media type, all for the love of the story. And yes, Mr. Lyman, you're right: one does end up with a different story when one is left out of the pack. One in which real people actually appear.

Welcome to the world of outsider journalism, Times guy. Lose the expense account, and we'll show you the secret handshake.

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