Tonawanda News


August 25, 2013

DUVALL: Obama's speech a yawner from media


Tonawanda News — •••

President Obama didn’t speak at Saturday’s rally on the steps of the Lincoln memorial — but he did make a speech in Amherst two days earlier.

It’s always an honor to host a sitting president, regardless of the reason or topic of the visit. Thursday was no exception.

Though I have to admit, the speech itself was a bit of a bore and from the media side it was something of a non-event.

You could tell by how the national media, far more used to this sort of thing than us local guys, treated the affair. News City Editor Neale Gulley, who attended the speech and wrote our main story about Obama’s call for higher education reform, noted the national guys didn’t even watch Obama in person. Instead they sat in a cordoned-off portion in the back of Alumni Arena and lunched on a catered buffet, their stories probably already written based off the embargoed copy of the president’s speech distributed by the White House press office that morning.

Absent much by way of “color” to fill in the policy heavy story, we were left with what felt like a fairly dry topic.

Kudos is due to Neale and the rest of our reporting team for really digging down and flushing out angles for what turned out to be a fairly straightforward news event. I enjoyed reading their stories and glimpsing their photos from the event. I hope readers did, too.


I also noted a pet peeve in coverage: Almost every national publication datelined their story Buffalo. Obama landed in Cheektowaga and drove over the border into Amherst, then back out. By my count he never even passed through the city of Buffalo.

If you’re covering the president of the United States you should probably know what town he’s in.

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