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Poynter Gives Politico the Nod

The Poynter Institute has written an entire story about Politico‘s coverage of the Arizona shootings. In turn, Politico is reporting on itself this morning. News of the story showed up in a number of Politico messages by reporters on Twitter last night. For instance, Politico‘s Jake Sherman wrote, “ Very proud of the work @politico did this weekend, good detail here.” Colleague James Hohmann, who has been covering the Arizona shooting story all weekend, also wrote of it in bland terms with a simple link to the story. News of Poynter’s story appeared again in Mike Allen‘s Playbook this morning.

Some journalists around town are taking note of the self-congratulatory tone. “Love how Politico uses the shootings to stroke itself,” said one D.C. editor on condition of anonymity.

The story’s noteworthy details:

* After the shooting, some 50 reporters and editors out of 100 got to work on the story both in Washington and Arizona.

* This is the publication’s first big test of a large, important story of this magnitude.

* Said Politico Editor-in-Chief John Harris: “People do feel a real sense of devotion, and maybe even zealotry, in staying on top of the news,” he said. Later in the piece, he remarked that Politico was not among the outlets who got news of the congresswoman’s death wrong.

But not all Politico coverage got praise. The Daily Caller‘s Online Editor Jeff Winkler, despite praising other journos like Slate‘s Dave Weigel and WaPo‘s Ezra Klein, critiqued a Sunday Politico story on the merging of politics and violence: “Laziest fucking story by @politico I’ve ever read. Considering it’s @jmartpolitico @benpolitico it’s disappointing.”

Winkler’s colleague, Chris Moody, also expressed distaste for members of the “top media” on Twitter but declined to name anyone specifically. “This weekend has left me saddened and severely disappointed with many writers that I have looked up to for years.” In other messages he explained that the journos he’s disappointed in are those sitting “on top of the career ladder I’m perched on.” He added, “It’s hard to see people we aspire to act like this.” > Update: Moody was not referencing Politico with the above quotes. He told FishbowlDC that he had not read Politico’s coverage before he wrote them.

Susanna Quinn, wife of lobbyist Jack Quinn, got into it a little with Politico‘s Jonathan Martin over the rhetoric. She said on Twitter, “Find hard to believe that Palin was sending msg to kill people. Inciting violence obv horrid but can we really blame SP?” He replied, somewhat defensively: “Not suggesting that. Talking specifically bout what her aide said this wknd and what Palin has said in past.”

Politico‘s Harris spoke with FishbowlDC this morning about the coverage as well as  some of the negative reaction on Twitter.

“We’ve got too much work to engage with people who are working out their personal issues via Twitter,” he said, remarking that those who don’t have the responsibilities that Politico does can say what they will. “We’re a young organization so we don’t have that much experience covering unexpected news events. This was a big test for us. I don’t think we did everything flawlessly, but I think we did it very very well. I think we were all extremely pleased with the instincts of our staff , to the natural impulse to get to work and be helpful. We were hugely impressed with the spontaneity of response from our staff. We have a responsibility to our core readers, particularly our audience up on Capitol Hill.”

Harris said Politico didn’t seek out Poynter for its story. It was the other way around.

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