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NBC to Assign Embeds to Cover Candidates

July 17, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) _ NBC News said Wednesday it would assign ``campaign embeds,″ a person who will be both a reporter and camera operator, to follow each of the nine Democratic candidates for president.

The network’s coverage plan is inspired, in part, by ``Journeys with George,″ the film made by Alexandra Pelosi, a former NBC News producer, about her experience following President Bush’s campaign in 1999 and 2000.

The film often showed the future president’s goofy side and provided a window into what it’s like to cover a campaign.

The assignments, to begin later this summer, will provide viewers with an earlier and more thorough look at campaigns than in the past, said Mark Lukasiewicz, executive producer of the network’s campaign coverage.

Usually, it wouldn’t be until closer to the primary season that networks send traditional teams of reporters and camera operators to cover campaigns.

``The key difference is we’re going to be able to be with the candidates as much as we can for longer periods of time,″ Lukasiewicz said. The smaller cameras carried by the reporters should provide a greater level of access, he said.

Their reports will be available on NBC News and its cable properties, MSNBC and CNBC. They will also be an integral part of ``First Read,″ a new online newsletter on political news modeled after ones already produced by ABC and CBS.

NBC didn’t identify any of their ``campaign embeds.″ They will not be recognizable faces to NBC viewers; better-known network reporters will also cover the campaign, but not so intensively with one candidate.

ABC News said it has assigned producer-reporters to follow each of the individual campaigns, as it has done since the 1988 election. A CBS News spokeswoman would not discuss the network’s coverage plans.

Also, CNBC said it would sponsor a debate between the Democratic candidates from Wall Street on Sept. 25. Brian Williams will moderate.

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