The Times calls it "microjournalism" — using Twitter to instantaneously file reports from the field. The story focuses on how a few writers are using text messages to Twitter in order to report from the campaign trail.
Microjournalism is the latest step in the evolution of Mr. (John) Dickerson, who worked for years at Time magazine, and has moved from print to online articles to blog entries to text messages no longer than 140 characters, or about two sentences. “One of the things we are supposed to do as journalists is take people where they can’t go,” he said in an interview. “It is much more authentic, because it really is from inside the room.”
Some might consider the idea of a barrage of text-messaged snippets about the presidential election the final dreadful realization of the news media’s obsession with “sound bites.” And spending time with the Twittered campaign reporting can mean wallowing in skin-deep observations, anonymous trashing of candidates and more than you would want to know about the food and travel conditions for the reporting class.
But it is genuine, and at times enlightening, which is more than you can say for the candidates themselves, who have also taken to using Twitter to update their supporters. (The septuagenarian Ron Paul, for example, is an ardent Twitter user, it appears, though he has a penchant for exclamation points that would make a teenager blush. Typical Ron Paul Twitter message: “Thus far in the race, I’ve received more votes than Fred Thompson or Rudy Giuliani. Freedom is popular!”)