By contrast, the Akron Beacon Journal’s coverage leaned too far toward softer stuff. The paper put two reporters on the president’s speech, and the resulting account did lead with a couple paragraphs about Obama’s message framing himself as a defender of the middle class. And farther down, the article does note some details about his argument on taxes. But the Tax Policy Center report, from which some of those details were drawn, is never mentioned. (The Guard base is never mentioned either, though to be fair that’s less of a local issue in Akron.) Instead, most of the article is devoted to the color and scene of the rally, including attendee interviews.

The rest of the Beacon Journal’s coverage—an article focused on the lucky residents who were invited to meet Obama, and another about the local politicians and supporters who greeted him on arrival—only tipped the balance further.

Of course it makes sense for local outlets to cover the pageantry of a presidential visit—that’s part of the story, and plenty of readers want to know what it was like to “be there.” But a presidential visit, when everybody’s attention is turned to politics, is also an ideal time to dig deeper on substance, especially when there’s news afoot, and it was disappointing that the Beacon Journal didn’t do more of that. But Obama and Romney will be back here many more times, in a race that gives every indication of remaining close—in the weeks to come, there will be other opportunities to dig in.

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T.C. Brown covered government and politics in the Ohio Statehouse Bureau for The Plain Dealer of Cleveland for more than 17 years, and he has also written for other local, state and national publications. Brown is a founding partner in Webface, a social media communication company.