Sunday, December 21, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

A Brave New ItCH For A Rich And Strange Election Year

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I started NY1's Political ItCH almost ten years ago as a way to quickly summarize all of the day’s major political headlines and editorials from the newspapers. The page also highlighted a good sound bite from the previous night’s "Inside City Hall" (or "The Road to City Hall" in a local election year) – and announced who our guests would be on that night’s program. For a long time, the page served a valuable purpose. There were few local political blogs and it was a great way to promote our political coverage through the use of "ItCH Alerts" – sending out e-mail blasts to promote exclusive stories or news-making interviews on the show.

But over the years and after the explosion of multiple blogs and the dawn of Twitter, the need for the ItCH's news summary has waned. Led by Liz Benjamin, YNN's The State of Politics does a superb job putting together links to all of the major stories in its daily "Here and Now" section – as does City & State’s First Read. So what is to be done?

Last year, I filed about ten columns from the national political conventions that were called The Unconventional ItCH and the feedback was extremely positive. (After all, who doesn't want an ugly behind-the-scenes look at how the press corps makes the informational sausage in Tampa and in Charlotte?). The ItCH also took a three-month detour via Hurricane Sandy where I spent much of my time hunkered down in my house in Rockaway Beach, writing a blog about the insanity of the hurricane and its aftermath. Again, I received lots of encouragement for the blog. (After all, who doesn't want to read about someone who's contemplating his own mortality while wondering about the edibility of Viennese sausages?)

All of this writing made me realize that while there may not be a need for "Inside the Papers" in the ItCH, there could still be a decent and short bit of writing I could send out into the Internet on a regular basis. So that's my plan. I’m giving The ItCH a makeover. It will be a bit of a work in progress, but it should be a relatively short rumination on something in the political news each morning. (I also do something similar – "The Political Buzz" – with Pat Kiernan each morning that runs on NY1 starting in the 6 a.m. hour. I'm also planning on posting my exchange with Pat on The ItCH page).

The first new ItCH will be posted Tuesday morning and will hopefully continue each weekday. And after boycotting Twitter for years, I’m finally onboard @Bobmagic01. So I’ll be sending out a daily ItCH alert each morning – as well as Tweeting out a link to the column.

In the words of Public Enemy, consider yourself warned.

Bob Hardt

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