‘Boys On The Bus’: 40 Years Later—–great book if you haven’t read it… JR
Senators George Stanley McGovern (left) and Hubert H. Humphrey talk with reporters after a televised debate in 1972.
The news business has changed a lot in recent years, and that’s especially true of political news. But when you ask about a book that captures what it’s like to report on a presidential campaign, one decades-old classic still rules: The Boys on the Bus by Timothy Crouse.
The rough-and-tumble account of the reporters who covered President Richard Nixon’s re-election against George McGovern back in 1972 is part of a Morning Edition series on political history.
The modern-day reporters who have read it include Jonathan Martin of Politico.
“It just features a, you know, behind-the-scenes account of the boozing, the writing, the cavorting of what was then a largely male press corps,” he tells NPR’s Steve Inskeep.
“We’re talking about typewriters, we’re talking about one deadline a day,” he adds, a dream situation for Martin and the two other political journalists who have gathered to discuss the book: Anne Kornblut of The Washington Post and Ashley Parker of The New York Times.
Today’s journalists say they now face endless deadlines, not just one. They also contend that they drink somewhat less than the guys in The Boys on the Bus.
But as Parker follows Republican Mitt Romney, she finds the book still relevant, and in fact inescapable — an NBC reporter brought along his copy. “He has basically been passing it around to all the reporters on the bus,” she says, “and his only rule is that you have to, you know, write notes in the margin, annotate it, and at the end so he’ll have this sort of great keepsake.” LISTEN OR READ THE STORY……..