Obradovich said identifying the Register’s audience and its needs are topics that have garnered a lot of discussion in the newsroom. She believes the state’s largest newspaper actually has several audiences.

“Caucus-goers themselves and people that are trying to make up their mind, they’re a very important audience—but they’re a small audience, compared to readers in general,” Obradovich said. “There are also people who will vote in the general election, folks who may not be interested in politics at all are but interested in the caucuses and how Iowa is portrayed, the spectacle. Then the national audience of media or political junkies from around the country.”

Obradovich said caucus-goers want information to make up their minds, like issue grids and details on where they can see candidates; people who are less likely to participate in the caucuses want to know if Wolf Blitzer is in the state, what Jon Stewart is saying about Iowa, or what President Obama is up to; and national political junkies want to know how candidates are playing in Iowa and where they stand in the latest in-state poll, among other things.

And then there are the readers, Obradovich noted, who think the paper devotes too much space to the caucuses altogether.

Andrew Duffelmeyer has covered government and politics in Iowa for the Associated Press, the Iowa Independent, and IowaPolitics.com. He grew up in Ames, attended Drake University in Des Moines, and continues to live and work in Iowa's capital city.