The Trade Press: Pounding the Washington Beat

By February 28, 2007Media Relations

Being a major trade association, we at the National Association of Manufacturers interact with reporters from all sorts of media outlets — the major dailies, financial newspapers, radio, broadcast and cable TV networks, and the trade press. Like any business, each medium has its strengths, weakness, reporting stars and lesser lights, but it’s safe to say that the reporters — at least the veterans — from the trade press tend to have a deeper understanding of the particulars of any issue. You cover a single industry or sector of the economy every single day, you get to know your subject matter.

All this just to point to a nice piece on the subject Tuesday in the new political newspaper, “The Politico,” “Washington’s Trade Press: An Army at the Back of the Media Gaggle.”

They make up 40 percent of all domestic print journalists on Capitol Hill, working for about 150 publications as diverse (and obscure) as American Drycleaner, Overhaul & Maintenance and Funeral Service Insider. And their readers — the CEOs of business and industry — count on them to track every proposed bill or amendment that just might affect their bottom lines.

“Any industry you can think of probably has a trade press,” said Matt DoBias, a reporter with Modern Healthcare, a slick full-color magazine for the hospital industry.

Right you are. The NAM talks to the trade press on every issue we work on: taxes, the legal climate, trade, transportation, energy, labor, education and, of course, manufacturing in all its permutations. (No doubt we’ve overlooked something.)

Anyway, The Politico’s Ryan Grim put together a good primer on the subject, including a list of trade press organizations credentialed to cover Congress. Worth taking a look at.

P.S. The Politico, which debuted Jan. 23, has drawn a lot of attention in media and political circles, and not just within the Beltway. Owned by Allbritton Communications, it launched with some high-profile reporters, such as the Washington Post’s Mike Allen, and claims to be more web-oriented than other publications. Like lots of folks, we wonder if the market for political, D.C.-insider news is large enough to sustain another publication next to The Hill and Roll Call, but from where we sit, so far, so good. There’s always something of value to read in it, a story or scoop you don’t see elsewhere.

More stories about The Politico are available at the Poynter Media Institute’s website here. One interesting bit of speculation about the paper comes from radio talkshow host Hugh Hewitt, who suggests that The Politico may sell its services as a D.C. bureau for budget-minded regional newspapers. Seems awfully focused on politics to serve that purpose, though.