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December 11, 2007 08:24 PM UTC

M.E. Sprengelmeyer, Superstar

  • 2 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

The Des Moines Register profiles M.E. Sprengelmeyer of the Rocky Mountain News and the newspaper’s unique coverage of the Iowa caucuses:

Last spring, Sprengelmeyer grew bored with subcommittee meetings in the Washington, D.C., bureau and pitched his editors a radical proposal: “Close the D.C. apartment and move to Des Moines. It’s where the action is.”

Although national papers such as the New York Times and Washington Post jet in reporters frequently, the idea of a regional newspaper moving a reporter to Iowa months before the caucuses is thought to be unprecedented. His editor bought his idea of a blog called “Back Roads to the White House” and ongoing print coverage of the candidates in a state that can make or break them.

“We liked the idea of a blog to add to our Internet brand,” said Jim Trotter, assistant managing editor. “It’s been a lot of fun and very creative.”

Sprengelmeyer beat the media hordes only now fully descending on Iowa. Mike Glover of the Associated Press in Des Moines, a veteran of reporting on the caucuses, said the interest in the caucuses is so intense because it’s the first time since 1952 that no sitting president or vice president is in the mix, leaving the race wide open…

…In his travels, one Iowa cliche held true: Iowans take this seriously.

He was in Newton at a coffee shop covering Hillary Clinton, who pointed to a woman in the crowd after she recited her “no more cowboy diplomacy” line often repeated in Iowa speeches.

Sprengelmeyer approached the woman afterward, figuring she was likely to caucus for Clinton.

“I haven’t made up my mind,” she told him. “I’ve only read one book on her and I’m not through with the second. I’ve only seen her once and haven’t seen (New Mexico Gov. Bill) Richardson so, no, I haven’t made up my mind.”

“Outside of Iowa, they just say they’re all a bunch of crooks,” Sprengelmeyer said. “There are so many cynics everywhere else but Iowa. Here, they actually think they are going to change the country. So, it’s an important civic duty.”

Months later, the woman called Sprengelmeyer just to tell him she had decided on Clinton.

“I’ve been here so long people call me months later,” he said.

Comments

2 thoughts on “M.E. Sprengelmeyer, Superstar

  1. I’ve been very impressed with Sprengelmeyer’s views. Unlike so many people who focus just on the process, polls and glitz, or on cheap shots, he seems to be really trying to provide solid reportage. I’m glad he’s getting the respect he deserves, and I thank the Rocky for sending him to Iowa.

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